There’s a Malala in every country working to help every girl

Dawnique, left, taking part in a New York discussion about the film

Prior to watching the film He Named Me Malala, I had a conversation with a few friends. We asked how can one person play a role or have an impact in a movement that looks different to people in New York City and Chicago, in Guyana and Pakistan?

Malala’s passion for education is unique. However, her unwavering belief that every girl deserves the right to an education regardless of culture, socio-economic background and religion sends a unifying global message – that collective education is an equal human right for those in Chicago as well as Kenya.

The dialogue within the larger education sphere is an example of a collective effort to ensure every child has access to a quality education. Beyond the context of the global movement, Malala’s story demonstrates the power of a pen, a teacher (her dad), a book and curiosity.

Throughout the film, there is a constant yearning to learn – Malala’s relentless curiosity to prove that education can also be attained outside a classroom demonstrates that every child should be given an opportunity to explore their passion. 

In so many ways, Malala and her dad redefined the word advocate. In many Western cultures, the term advocacy is often used loosely and becomes a cliched symbol within a culture.

There’s a still moment in the film when Malala’s dad stood in a public space and spoke openly on why every girl deserves an education.

At that moment, I realised much of who Malala is – her tenacity and unshattered, profound, deeply-rooted-belief that what can transform any society is equipping a child with the tools to gain an education. All of which is centered in her dad’s fearless effort to project the message that everyone desires an education.

There is a Malala in Pakistan, India, China, Honduras, Brazil, Kenya, Gabon, Guyana and Jamaica. There’s a young girl who is willing to ensure every girl in her community, her region and country is igniting her curiosity for learning.

Singing the praises of Malala at the same New York event

There’s a Malala who is addressing government officials, creating learning hubs in her community for post-secondary skill development training and being an average teen.

There are many Malalas whose stories are equally powerful – collectively we are all on a journey to ensure education is a priority. 

Let us continue to equip the girls in our communities. Let us work together to support our teachers, whether it’s a traditional teacher or the elder in a remote village who made it her responsibility to educate the young women.

Let us promote literacy and ensure a library is in every household. Let us provide a pen for every girl to write her vision. We are all Malala.

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