I had a poster of Anne Frank on my bedroom wall when I was growing up. On my 16th birthday, I looked up at her, sadly and somewhat apologetically, thinking about how I would now always be older than her — and about all the other innocent girls around the world struck down for reasons beyond their control and my comprehension.
Today is International Day of the Girl Child, and for me, it feels like we’ve gotten a second chance with Malala Yousafzai. The Pakistani teenager, who miraculously survived being shot in the head by the Taliban over her fight for the right to girls’ education, turned 16 this summer. She’s been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and has been making the rounds to promote the Malala Fund and her new book.
I took notes as I watched the livestream of her appearance, with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, at Mashable’s Social Good Summit last month. Some notable quotes:
I want education for every child.
We shall not wait for someone else. We shall not wait for the governments to do it. We shall do it by ourselves. It is our duty.
My dream is to see every girl be educated, in every country.
A Talib chooses guns to solve a problem. We choose our voice… a peaceful way to solve problems.
I believe that today it would seem like a dream that we are saying tomorrow there will be equality. It seems a dream now — but in future, it will be reality.
In most parts of the world, when a girl is born, right from the very beginning, her wings are clipped. She’s not let to fly. The only thing I did: I tried to make her free, to make her free and independent. I dreamed for her. All that is good. Now it’s up to her what she chooses for herself.
A few days ago, she also had a charming visit with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. (Sorry, the embedded video is not working, so just use the link for now. –NNG)
Jon Stewart should have had her on for the whole show, or at least two segments — the government shutdown news mockery will be good for a while (sigh) — but TDS did add two extended interview clips to the website:
Each of us can do something more to support girls and women, whether in desperate situations like Malala’s Swat Valley or in our own neighborhoods. This month, donations through our Give Together program will help fund three nonprofits working with women and girls in Nepal, Sudan and here in Seattle. The pool we raise this month will be matched by Seattle International Foundation funds, so there’s twice as much reason to give — starting at just $10. Join Jolkona’s Give Together for Women & Girls in October, and make a big difference for women in Africa, Asia and the United States.