“I dreamt of a country where education would prevail.”
said Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old campaigner for human rights & education.
Her dream was finally realized after UN’s Special Envoy for Global Education, former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, handed a petition to the President of Pakistan this Friday. The petition, which was also signed by the president during the Waseela-e-Taleem initiative in Islamabad, was carrying more than one million signatures of the people across the world to show solidarity with Malala and support for every child’s right to education. As a result of her courage and perseverance to stand in the face of adversity, 32 million girls like her around the globe who are denied their right to school have finally been brought into the lime light.
President Asif Ali Zardari also announced on Friday, that poor families will now receive $2 a month per child in primary school, which is the bare minimum fee of a child attending a subpar, government supported educational institution in Pakistan. It may not be much, but it’s an incredibly progressive step in the short 65 year history of Pakistani independence. If Waseela-E-Taleem brings about what it promises, 3 million children will be in school by the end of 2012 and this is just for Pakistan. Many of these children will be girls.
As a religion, Islam has always been an advocate for women’s rights. Before came the fundamentalists, there was no acid throwing, no poisoning of girls for attending school, no stoning of women and no burying alive. All these issues were aroused by a lack of awareness and illiteracy, and could just as easily be eradicated by providing education to the masses. Starting with the backbone of a family, the woman, we seek not only to educate the mother of her children but rather an entire generation. This is what Malala Yousafzai had been hoping to achieve via her campaign against the insurgents who wanted to keep a region of people oppressed by keeping them uneducated.
You took a bullet for your nation, there is nothing more patriotic than that. Whatever future Pakistan has, you put your life on the line to mold it into something beautiful. For that, we’ll be forever grateful. Not everybody will approve of your actions, but don’t worry, ignorant people hated Muhammad (PBUH) and Jesus as well. It didn’t stop them from conveying the right message and I’ll be damned if it stops us. We are with you every step of the way. Thank you, Malala. Thank you for being the voice to 32 million children across the globe who are deprived of their right to education. Thank you for doing what none of us could and asking for nothing in return. You are forever loved and appreciated. Today on November 10th, we celebrate your bravery, courage, and vision as well as pray for your recovery & safety. Amen.