A Unified Global Moment to Honor Malala Yousafzai
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 7, 2012
By Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; UN Special Envoy for Global Education
Fortunately, Malala is starting on the road to recovery and Malala Day, one month after Malala was left for dead by Taliban assassins, is an opportunity for people everywhere to come together to support the cause that Malala so valiantly represents: a girl’s right to education.
The right to education is denied to 61 million children of primary school age around the world. Girls, boys, the marginalized, rural children, child laborers — the hopes of these 61 million are represented by the struggle and voice of Malala. November 10th is our opportunity to continue to speak out in support of Malala’s vision of every child in school, learning and reaching their full potential.
This Saturday, on Malala Day, new initiatives will be announced in support of Malala and in support of the cause she has risked her life for.
The Malala Yousafzai Children’s Education Institute, named in honor of Malala, will be announced to help educate the world on the need for universal education. The Malala Institute, supported by the Good Planet Foundation, will publish research reports leading the fight for education for every child still denied the right to school.
NGOs such as Plan International are already stepping up their efforts to educate girls. I have also been approached by dedicated teachers and philanthropists wishing to start Malala schools.
While the final figures will not be announced until Saturday, already some one million people have signed petitions urging Pakistan to ensure every girl has a place at school and calling for the United Nations to continue the advance of universal education.
On behalf of a million citizens, I will present the petitions to Pakistan’s President Zardari when I meet him this week.
As the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, I will now ask President Zardari to join a unique process agreed by the United Nations to fast-track new measures aimed at accelerating progress to overcome the bottlenecks keeping millions of girls and boys out of school. Our aim is to meet the 2015 deadline that for every Pakistani boy and girl to be enrolled in primary school.
Making a quality education a reality for every child requires us to tackle difficult challenges head-on as there are formidable barriers to overcome — including teacher shortages, discrimination against girls, child labor and the absence of classrooms — or of proper sanitation, where classrooms do exist.
The good news is that there is no technological or scientific barrier to the attainment of universal education: we know how to build schools, how to train teachers and deliver better education. All we need is the political will to make this happen.
The best news of all is that Malala is recovering well and that her recovery is inspiring millions of people around the world to take seriously the cause of education for all.
I encourage the world to rise up in support of Malala across our communities on Malala Day to make all our voices count.
There are now a million Malalas ready to step up in support of education for all. Let us show all those in power that we not only identify with Malala, the global symbol of education for all, but will make her dream come true.
This blog is part of a series called “Malala’s Impact,” which highlights the need for global education. The series is launched in partnership with the UN’s Global Day of Action for Malala campaign on November 10.