July 12 is an important day for millions of children and girls around the world. Tomorrow is Malala Day. Do you remember this remarkable young woman? She is an outspoken voice for education equality around the world. She has been speaking and blogging on the subject for several years. Last October, the Taliban shot this 15 year old Pakistani activist in the head and neck, planning to silence her once and for all. Their plan failed, and Malala’s voice is stronger than ever. She recovered from her injuries and is continuing to advocate for girl’s education. And, her trial has resulted in support from around the world, and further awareness of the importance of education.
Education is the future. Education is an eliminator of poverty. And education is a huge source of inequality around the world. 66 million girls do not go to school in the developing world. But when you educate a girl, you educate a society. One year of extra education can raise her income by 20%. Educating 1% more girls in India would result in an increase of 5.5 billion of GDP. Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school. (source) A couple months ago I watched a screening of the movie “Girl Rising”, hosted by the incredible organization CARE. Many of these stats come from that film. It is a powerful documentary following nine beautiful young women around the world. Their stories are heartbreaking at times, but inspiring as well. I’d highly recommend it. You can watch the trailer below:
I have seen firsthand the value and impact of education. I met the sweet family in the photograph to the right while I volunteered in Mumbai, India. They were an incredible family with seven children- four of them girls. (a couple were not pictured) And all seven of their children were getting an education. This is unheard of in the slum community their family has lived in for generations. They were part of a low caste and tradition typically dictates that you remain in your ‘role’ for your life. Their oldest daughter was enrolled in secondary school, one of the first women in her community and the first woman in her family to do so. She’s working hard to get an education, and I believe that she will be instrumental in pulling her family out of poverty. I will never forget the pride on this father’s face when he talked about his children- all of his children. He believes in them and is working hard to ensure that they all get an education. It’s powerful, and it changes the world. I have met other young women around the world who are working hard to change systems.
I am an educated woman. I have a couple degrees and I plan on getting more education in the future. I am an instructor in a higher education institute. I love education, and it breaks my heart to think about the girls who do not have easy access to healthcare like I have and like my daughters will have one day. I can be a bit of a feminist, but this is not a feminist issue. This is a human issue. It is my responsibility, as a person, and as a Christian, to advocate for these young women who cannot go to school. And it is my responsibility to make sure that we all understand how blessed we are to have access to education. I am guilty of taking advantage of this gift, and I pray I can raise children one day who understand the impact and value.
So, for Malala Day, head over to this website to stand with Malala. Sign her birthday card to show your support. Talk to your children about children around the world who can’t go to school. Think about sponsoring a child through Compassion International or other organizations to help provide the education for a child. Or use your voice on social media to tell your friends about the remarkable young women around the world who desire to go to school. We can all join together to make a difference.