SEATTLE — The Malala Fund was established in 2013 by Malala Yousafzai after she was targeted for advocating for girls’ education. Since then, the organization has been spreading awareness to gain support for girls’ education. This year, Malala is traveling the world on a tour to continue spreading awareness and meeting others who are actively supporting girls’ education.
Malala is most known for her passionate activism for gender equality and girls’ right to education. Being an activist was dangerous for a girl living in Pakistan. But Malala never stayed silent, even as a young girl. In 2009 Malala first started blogging for the BBC under an alias. At just 11 years old, she wrote about her fears of her school closing and of the violence happening in her country. Both Malala and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai openly spoke about everyone’s right to education.
For her outspokenness, Malala was awarded Pakistan’s first ever National Youth Peace Prize in 2011. The next year, on her bus to school, Malala was targeted by a masked gunman and shot in the head. With severe injuries, she was taken to the U.K. to be treated. Today, Malala not only has overcome her injuries but has also become more active than ever for girls’ education.
Since her recovery, Malala gave multiple speeches including to the British Parliament and the Canadian Parliament. She has also been featured in interviews for news outlets such as the New York Times and BBC. She continues to write on her own blog; all in an effort to spread awareness through her experience and knowledge for girls’ education.
Since the creation of the Malala Fund, the organization has become a large network that implements many programs to help spread awareness for girls’ education. One such program is the Gulmakai Network. This program connects education activists and gives them a bigger platform to encourage girls to get an education. With different threats to girls’ education from different communities and countries, the program highlights educators and students alike from countries such as Pakistan, Nigeria, Turkey and Lebanon. The Gulmakai Network’s mission statement is to invest in these activists, who know the different challenges of their own country and community to allow them to advocate for policies and programs that will allow more girls access to education.
Malala herself is still an active advocate. Before going to college, Malala is traveling on a tour to visit countries around the world. So far Malala has visited Lancaster, PA, known as “America’s Refugee Capital” for welcoming 20 times more refugees than any other city in the U.S. Malala also went to Ottawa, Canada to address the Canadian Parliament. In her speech, Malala spoke of the transformative power Canada’s welcoming refugee policies have on girls’ education. Malala is currently back in the U.K. to finish her final exams but will be continuing her tour to meet with other activists who are fighting for girls’ education.
The Malala Fund has not only raised money for girls’ education but is supporting activists who are currently fighting for girls’ right to education. Through Malala’s story, the Gulmakai Network and Malala’s tour, the Malala Fund is continuing to make an impact on the rights to girls’ education around the world.
– Deanna Wetmore