This morning, during our homeschooling hour, I noticed Jane reading out a chapter from the book called “I am Malala” with a girl’s picture on the cover.
I immediately thought to myself, if it was me I wouldn’t have chosen that book for the boys, not because I am a male chauvanist or something, but because I wouldn’t have imagined my boys relating to a girl’s story, but I guess I was wrong. I saw their eyes and heart wide open to the story of this little girl who is now changing the world.
“I am Malala” is a compelling story of a girl from Pakistan who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. And I believe every parent should tell this story of bravery to every child, whether a girl or a boy.
Malala Yousafzai, comes from a place called Swat valley in the northern part of Pakistan. This place was a target of terrorism, where the terrorists attacked and killed innocent people every night, especially snatching the right of freedom and equality from women by banning the schools where girls studied and destroying books and pens.
In such circumstances, few stood up against terrorism and fought for education. Malala was one among them and was shot by the Taliban at the age of 15; the bullet travelled 18 inches (46 cm) from the side of her left eye, through her neck and landed in her shoulder.
Fortunately, she survived and today at the age of 23, she is the youngest Nobel prize winner, known for human rights advocacy, especially for the education of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Pakistani Taliban had many times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has grown into an international movement, and according to former Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, she has become “the most prominent citizen” of the country.
It is such stories of bravery that has changed the world. Let us celebrate them by teaching them to our children. You never know, another story may evolve in the process. It is a joy and privilege to bring up our children not just to become consumers of what the previous generations have sowed but to become torchbearers of new movements against inequality, corruption & hatred.