A birthday to remember for Malala and girls around the world
Photographed at her new home in the UK, Malala shows her support for Plan’s global Because I am a Girl initiative by raising her hand for girls’ education worldwide.
Photo credit: A World at School 2013
July 12th will be one of those days you remember for the rest of your life.
Malala Yousafzai addressed the public at the United Nations for the first time since being shot last year on her way to school by the Taliban in Pakistan. On the same day, Malala celebrated her 16th birthday, a milestone millions of supporters dreamt she would reach.
Last October, Malala was shot by armed Taliban gunmen while she was on her way to school in Pakistan – targeted for her keen support for girls’ education. In amazement, the world watched as Malala recovered from the malicious attack.
One day to take over the UN
For her 16th birthday, Malala took her fight for education global. More than 600 of the world’s brightest young leaders, including Canadian youth, joined Malala at the first-ever youth takeover of the United Nations in support of universal education for all children, especially girls.
“This is an opportunity for every young person on the planet to get together and tell the world: we will get our education, be it at home, in school or any place,” says education activist, Malala.
Big steps for the world’s youth
Crystal, 18 and Fahmeeda, 16, are the Canadian delegation that attended the UN Youth Takeover, both avid supporters of Plan’s Because I am a Girl initiative.
The purpose of the youth takeover was to deliver a youth-led resolution to help all children around the world access their right to education. The youth hope their resolution will be brought forward and considered at the UN General Assembly in September, 2013.
Plan Canada was honoured to have supported the Canadian youth delegates for the historic UN event. Chrystal, 18, and Fahmeeda, 16, attended the youth takeover with Malala. Both girls are members of Plan Canada’s Girls Speaker Bureau, and dedicated supporters of Plan’s Because I am a Girl initiative.
“We know that women who receive education marry at a later age, they have better jobs, and they are paid more,” says Canadian delegate Chrystal. “Because of the education they receive they have that self-confidence, they have the skills and the knowledge to go out there and make change.”
Countdown to Day of the Girl
The UN Youth Takeover also kick-started Plan’s countdown to the 2nd annual International Day of the Girl on October 11. The lead-up to the event will help engage Canadians to support girls’ right to an education.
Currently, 66 million girls around the world are out of school and even more struggle every day to remain where they belong – in the classroom. Plan’s research has shown that today’s challenge is to ensure that girls not only have access to schools, but that they receive a quality education.
By quality education, we mean an education that is relevant to girls’ needs, rights and aspirations. Girls’ education must be made a top priority on the global and post-Millennium Development Goals agenda.