By Amy Pitman (Originally published on Oct 9, 2013)
Volunteer, Art In Tanzania
The International day of the Girl child will be celebrated for the second time this Friday with a big focus on ‘Innovating for Girls’ Education’.
In 2011 the United Nations declared 11th October as International day of the Girl child giving a chance for the world to recognize girls’ rights while highlighting the individual challenges they are exposed to around the world. Last year, the day focused on a child marriages.
This year the focus is on girls’ education, a subject which is broad and allows for different approaches by different stakeholders around the world.
Among the renowned girl child education activists in the world is a young girl from Pakistan who boldly challenged the view that girls do not have the same right to education as boys. Malala Yousafzai’s public campaign for girls’ rights was unwelcome in some circles and the Taliban militant group shot her when she openly expressed her views on her right to girls’ education.
When the Taliban declared girls would no longer be allowed to go to school, Malala started writing a blog on BBC Urdu called ‘Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl’ which detailed her views on education, believing she could be more than what was expected of her.
She kept the blog anonymous, however, she was not afraid to publicly speak out about these views, particularly to journalists. In February 2009, the Pakistani television presenter Hamid Mir brought his show to Swat in Pakistan, Malala’s home and she choose this opportunity to voice these views.
Although Malala was the activist, the concern was primarily with her father as he was already known as a social and educational activist. It was never expected that the Taliban would target a child.
Malala was shot in the head in 2012 and was eventually flown to the United Kingdom to receive hospital treatment. Now aged 16 and living in Birmingham, England, she has already been nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize and was this week nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Now Malala is working towards convincing the children of Britain to appreciate the education they receive, telling the BBC programme Panorama: “I want to tell the students of UK to think that it is precious, it’s very prestigious, to go to school.”