WE ARE WOMEN.
As female citizens of this world, the recent news about
Malala Yousafzai winning the Nobel Peace prize,
together with Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist from India,
is absolutely fantastic!
Don’t you think so?
I think that Malala’s decisions will affect women and girls (and all of humanity) for generations to come.
One of the big problems with education is that precisely the people who need it the most, are often the ones who deeply oppose it.
Yet the people who insist that something is “good for you” can often come across as patronizing and so their advice is ignored.
That is why I think Malala will be able to accomplish so much.
She a is a girl.
She is young.
And she is Pakistani.
She won’t have to preach.
She has first hand knowledge of the the value of education.
What better advocate for universal female education could we ask for?!
Her voice may be able to ring more loudly and clearly than if she were older, a male, and from a richer (“more civilized”) nation.
I take it for granted that education is a good thing for everyone. Not everyone in this world has the same opinion.
Malala is an advocate for education for all girls, yet not all people (the Taliban, for example) want what she is fighting for.
There can be a fine line between your desire to help others in a way that you believe is good & true, and what the people who are receiving your help think about the whole business.
The following is a true story.
Some years back, an acquaintance of mine sold all her possessions and decided to move to the jungles of Brazil.
She was enjoying her new care-free lifestyle, yet noticed that many of the children around her did not go to school.
This worried her. She was convinced that a basic education should be a priority for all these kids.
So she decided to tackle the problem herself. She started by going to visit the local families.
And that was when she first hit up against a brick wall.
The families did not want their children to go to school. The only way to make ends meet was to have the children go to work everyday.
Who had time for something as lofty as school?
She didn’t want to give up so easily so she decided to approach the problem step by step.
She had to convince the families that education was a good thing in the long run.
But how do you convince someone who is starving today that they will have more food on their table in the uncertain future if only their kids could learn how to read and write?
After some of the families agreed about the importance of education, there was the problem of getting the kids enrolled.
In order to be enrolled, a child first needed to present a birth certificate.
Easy peasy, you’d think, right? Well, no, not really. When parents are illiterate, what use to them is a piece of paper with the names and birth dates of their children?
So next came the long ordeals of obtaining birth certificates. What a thrill! Hurray! Papers and questionnaires to full, IDs to be shown!
Anybody who has applied for a passport, visa, or even a driver’s licence, knows the fun and joy involved here.
(Ok, so maybe this depends on which country you live in…but you get the point.)
Getting a birth certificate in Brazil involved all that thrill plus driving the mother, together with the children, to the big city for the day, going to city hall, standing in line, and applying for the proper documents.
Easy enough, right?
It meant that the mother would have to take off work and thus miss that day’s paycheck.
As you can probably guess, it was not easy to get the women to sacrifice a day of work in exchange for a piece of paper with some official stamps on it.
I haven’t spoken to Pilar (the brave Spanish woman who did this) in almost 10 years so I cannot tell you anything else about how successful her venture was/is. In any case, this is what she told me. She did manage to get some kids successfully into school on a daily basis and I was duly impressed.
When we grow up in a country where all kids go to school, we take so much for granted about elementary education.
And don’t you love that Malala is a practicing Muslim? I hope that she is able to educate the Western world, just by being herself, that not all Muslims are automatically bad people!
What do YOU think about Malala? What are your thoughts about mandatory education for all girls and boys, no matter where they live?
I love to read your opinions! Please LEAVE a comment below!!! (You’ll get an A+ if you do:))
I’ll leave the topic about the quality of education for another post. That’s when the discussion can really get heated!
In the meantime, here are some of my favorite TED talks about education:
A message by Malala’s father:
( If you happen to be a man and enjoy reading posts at HelloMyGoddess, then I sincerely welcome you!)