Written by: Robina Baloch
Education Activist Malala Yousafzai meets girls who are struggling to go to school every year on her birthday. She stands with them and makes sure the world hears their stories. She is the voice of girls who can’t speak for themselves.
“Many girls from Syria, Burundi, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all around the world have lost so much and are then forced to fight for a right they already have – the right to go to school,” Malala stated.
According to Malala’s blog, 60 million girls are out of school globally. Her blog also tells the stories of girls who struggled so much for their education.
Muzoon's empowerment story
Image source: blog.malala.org
One girl’s family fled the Syrian war and became refugees in Jordan – leaving so much behind. Her name is Muzoon. She said she could not compromise on her education as that was the only means for a better future.
During her time in the refugee camp, Muzoon saw many girls being married off at a very young age just because their parents thought it was the only way to protect their daughters’ future. This concerned her a lot so she went from family to family urging different parents that education was the best way to secure their daughter’s future. She told girls to raise their voices for themselves. Muzoon said that girls have so much to offer to the world through their education but it is wasted when they are married off.
Rahma's escape story
Image source: blog.malala.org
Another 19-year-old girl’s story tells that even at the age of 13, she hadn’t stepped in a classroom. Malala met Rahma in Dadaab, Kenya – the world’s largest refugee camp.
When Rahma did start going to school, she had to work a lot harder to catch up with the class and graduate from primary school. She then enrolled in a secondary school but her family returned to Somalia after that and Rahma lost her chance of studying once again. After just two months, her father decided to marry her off to a man over 50 years old. Rahma escaped her house, taking an eight-day bus ride back to the refugee camp. All this for her education.
A Call To Action
Malala was once a refugee herself. Her story is well known around the world. She understands how compromising girls’ educations can be. Malala repeatedly requests donations for these deprived girls. Through these donations, Malala opened a school for Syrian refugees in 2015 and many other programs.
Image source: ibtimes.com
The stigma around girl’s education is still prevalent among some Asian and Muslim parents. Be it Arab Muslims or Muslims of the Subcontinent, girls’ education isn’t seen as a priority, more particularly in developing nations.
Malala herself, being a Pakistani-Muslim girl, was targeted by extremists for wanting to pursue her education. Being a Muslim, I have seen and heard these kind of stories happen firsthand. This isn’t a criticism, but a call to action.
Breaking the "Glass Ceiling"
Hazrat Umar Bin Khattab (R.A) said, that if a man has money to educate one of his children then he should educate the daughter rather than the son. Even though the first lady of Islam – Hazrat Khadijah (R.A) – was a business woman, if we look around us today, we see women lagging behind in securing top positions in the work force and are encouraged to get married instead of pursue their dreams. The glass ceiling still exists.
Image source: triplepundit.com
There are also successful women who have managed to pursue their dreams, but we need to encourage more women to pursue this path. Instead of considering marriage as a solution to girls’ problems, education as a pathway to success should be emphasized. We need to aim to shatter the glass ceiling. Marriage is not a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be the first option for girls, particularly if they want to pursue their education.
Providing girls with education doesn’t start ‘tomorrow or someday,’ it starts today and right now! Stand with Malala, stand for yourself. #YesAllGirls deserve education.
You too can support today by visiting https://blog.malala.org/tagged/yes-all-girls
(Source for all information: blog.malala.org)
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