Looking for Inspiration – “Malala Day”

Malala Yousafzai was shot on the left side of her forehead by the Taliban on October 9, 2012. But on July 12, 2013, she celebrated her 16th birthday at the UN. After risking her life to fight for girls’ education, this Pakistani student spoke to hundreds of youth delegates. In doing so, she reminds the world of the importance of fighting for what you believe in.

Her perception and growth from her experiences chilled the audience as she spoke directly of the shooting incident. “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions.” She claimed. “But nothing has changed in my life, except for this: weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, fervor, and courage was born.” Her strength and perseverance serves as an inspiration to all those who are fighting for their rights or for the rights of others.

Malala’s speech focused on education and its fundamentality in instigating positive change. Subsequently, the damaging effects of being denied such an education are evident. In human trafficking situations, children are forced into labor or sexual exploitation around the world. They are deprived of food, adequate necessities, sometimes their family members and friends, their autonomy, and their right to an education. Malala rightfully deems such scenarios as unacceptable. Despite her young age, Malala speaks with feverish eloquence as she states that this day is not about her. Instead, she projects, “Here I stand – one girl among many. I speak not for myself, but [so] those without voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated. ” With this attitude, we are able to stand with Malala in her determination and fight for human rights. Even in Cincinnati, we are able to make a difference as we continue to take steps towards combatting human trafficking and empowering survivors to seek their right to equal opportunities and education. Through these efforts, more rights will be restored, and thereby Malala’s fight for access to education and equality will move forward.

Happy Belated Birthday, Malala and thank you for all you do!

Watch Malala’s full speech here.

Author: Emma Stegman
July 18, 2013

Update 10-12-13

Since her birthday, Malala has appeared on several TV shows to share her story. Here are links to a few of these interviews:

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

20/20 – Interview with Diane Sawyer


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