5 Ways To Support Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai’s Mission
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for girls’ education rights, just became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Price. She shares the award with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian advocate who campaigns against child labor and exploitation. Yousafzai came into the international spotlight in 2009 when she began blogging anonymously about life under Taliban rule for the BBC and expressed her desire to continue her education. Her community in the Swat region of Pakistan had been overtaken by the Taliban the year before, and local schools had begun closing left and right. Eventually Malala was publicly identified as the blog’s author, and in 2012, Taliban forces barged onto her school bus and shot her in the head. Malala miraculously survived and was airlifted to England for recovery, where she still lives with her parents and brother. Instead of intimidating her into silence, the shooting made Malala even more determined to fight for the thousands of girls around the world who are still unable to attend school without fearing for their lives. After the jump, a few ways we can all help further her cause!
1. Get involved with The Malala Fund.
2. Volunteer for or donate to other charities that fight for education and girls’ rights.
3. Get informed.
Injustices like what Malala experienced happen every day around the globe, often unbeknownst to the majority of the Western world. Learn more about the plight of thousands of other girls like Malala by going deeper into Malala’s own story and better understanding her call for action. TED talks, Malala’s own book, her public speaking engagements, and even Jon Stewart offer a better picture of what she’s about and how we can get involved.
4. If you’re lucky enough to have an education, use that privilege to help others.
When she accepted the Nobel Prize, Malala said, “I want to tell children all around the world that they should stand up for their rights, they shouldn’t wait for someone else. This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard.” Those of us who do have voices (which, these days, can simply mean regular access to the internet) can use ours to speak out for those who aren’t heard. Spread the word about girls’ education, Malala’s message, and the general state of inequality among the world’s children in any way you can. If you’re in a position to be a mentor, help a young girl to value her own education and point her on a path that will help her succeed. In Malala’s words, things get better when we encourage the world’s parents to put their daughters in school.
5. Push through fears, don’t allow bullies to silence you, and encourage others to do the same.
In simple terms, the Taliban’s violent effort to stifle Malala was bullying. Luckily, most of us encounter bullies on a much smaller scale, but all of them share the goal of scaring us into submission. One of the biggest lessons Malala tries to impart to the world is to keep peacefully fighting for our rights and saying what we believe in even when others try to keep us from living the fullest life we can. Refusing to be intimidated is how we take away the bullies’ power. At a Glamour magazine event, Malala told the crowd, “We must not be afraid of anything. We must not be afraid of anything! I believe that a gun has no power at all. Because a gun can only take life. But a pen can save lives.” It’s easier said than done, but don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re female, or young, or a minority, or whatever other excuse someone hurls your way.
For a little more inspiration, here’s Malala’s address to the United Nations Youth Assembly in 2013:[Image via Getty]