Today, we are celebrating the birthday of Malala Yousafzai and her incredible achievements in campaigning for children's education. Her role in empowering women and young girls to receive the education they deserve is especially poignant and one which has received critical acclaim from politicians, celebrities, royals and governments all over the world.
You have probably heard of Malala Yousafzai's story already. It is one filled with courage, hope and an incredible amount of strength. She is now the advocate of children's voices across the world who don't have the access to the education they deserve, and has become a beacon of peace for those affected by violent and gender injustice.
“When someone takes away your pens you realize quite how important education is.” - Malala Yousafzai,
The Story Of Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai unknowingly began her career in political engagement at the mere age of 11. BBC Urdu had reached out to a local school in Swat, where Malala's father, Ziauddin, happened to teach.
They wanted a schoolgirl to document her life there under the rule of the Taliban, in blog form. Ziauddin struggled to find someone willing to take on the task, as they feared being reprimanded by militant soldiers, so he asked his daughter Malala if she would do it instead. Malala agreed and went on to document her life with raw truth.
Following the end of the documented blog, Malala was contacted by a New York Times reporter, Adam B. Ellick, about the potential to film a documentary. Throughout the documentary, her hometown came under stress from political instability, and while her family received death threats, they continued to campaign for what they believed in.
“We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.” - Malala Yousafzai,
After the documentary, Malala started to become a more prominent figure in human politics. She was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize and then went on to be awarded Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize.
After the attempted assassination of Malala, where she underwent critical surgery and rehabilitation for her injuries, she has grown from strength to strength to become one of the most courageous, inspiring, and peaceful minds of our generation.
Empowering Women Through Education
Malala's fund has been established to provide a 12 year safe haven of education for girls to study, where they provide learning programmes across the world.
Did You Know?
- 30 million girls miss out on the first 3 years of secondary education across the world.
- Girls face violence in over 70 countries, which prevents them from going to school.
- Just 12 years of safe and quality education gives girls the skills they need to go out into the world and make a life for themselves.
- In developing countries, girls who come from the poorest countries spend less than 3 years at school.
*Source: UNESCO Institute Of Statistics
How Does The Fund Help Girls?
- They provide a platform for girls' voices to be heard no matter their background, creed or colour.
- They stand in unity and give girls a sense of community and family.
- The fund invests in organisations that help to provide education for girls, giving them a head start in life. They believe that both local and global commitment is needed to shift the harsh realities of gender inequality.
- They advocate for the changes in policy that are needed for the safe education of girls. Both Malala and her father lobby political figures to campaign for the prioritisation of girls' education.
You can also read more about the importance of education for girls on Girl Up, a charity dedicated to turning dreams into reality.
The Lookfantastic Beauty Brands That Empower Women Through Education
Like the Malala fund, there are many brands across the world that play their part in giving back to the community and help women to unlock their true potential.
Founded in 1999, the Dermalogica Foundation, or FITE as it is known, is dedicated to raising funds to help women and children better their lives through education, skill programmes and mentorship. They heavily invest in local initiatives to support women to become leaders in their own communities.
The programme has had astounding success, helping to fund more than 50,000 women in 69 countries.
“Dermalogica’s success is overwhelmingly due to the huge percentage of women entrepreneurs who support us.” – Jane Wurwand, Founder of Dermalogica and FITE.
L’Oréal launched their "Women of Worth" programme in 2006, and since then has donated $10,000 to 10 women each and every year. This helps women to make their dreams a reality and achieve their long-term goals.