Malala Shows Us That Girls Can Change The World
Malala Yousafzai is resting and healing from a gunshot wound to the head in a British hospital. Meanwhile, women and girls all over the world are shouting and donning T-shirts saying: I Am Malala.
The 15-year-old Pakistani girl was shot at close range on her way from school by Taliban extremists. She was targeted because she is a vocal supporter of girls' education. Something which seems so basic to us is extreme and dangerous to those who oppose her.
Since her shooting, she has become a symbol for the millions of girls who are denied an education. The UN declared Saturday, November 10th, Malala day. During the Global Day of Action, former British PM Gordon Brown went to Pakistan and presented a petition signed by millions of people demanding all children have access to education.
It is too early to say if the petition will make a difference, or if other girls like Malala who live in the Swat region of Pakistan will routinely go to school without threats or incidents, but the issue of education is now at the forefront because of Malala.
There is even talk of nominating the teen for the Nobel Peace Prize.
So can one person change the world?
Malala's experience, though extremely painful, shows that yes one person, or at least one person acting as a symbol, can change the world. That is the message that I try and give to my kids when we talk about terrible and also empowering stories such as these.
I hate telling my daughter that in some countries, she would be considered "less than". It has never occurred to her that she would be denied anything based on her gender. And it is heartbreaking to me to have to clue her into the realities of the world.
But at least once in a while there are girls (and boys) willing to stand up and fight for what is right. That is also the message that I try and give her. I encourage her to try and be one of those in small ways or large. Perhaps, I will ask her if she wants to draw a card for Malala as well.
How do you teach your kids that one person can make a difference?
Want more chaos? Last year, I asked, when did you know you were a mother? And I pinpointed my exact second.