Role Model. Champion. Ordinary Girl.

i am malala

Like many teenagers, she spends her days on Facebook and Twitter in between her classes at school. She pokes fun at her younger brother. She laughs at The Minions. She thinks Brad Pitt is handsome.

She considers herself to be an ordinary girl. An ordinary girl who fights the Taliban. Even when they tried to kill her.

Born in 1997, Malala Yousafazai, spent most of her childhood in Swat Valley, Pakistan. He father operated a school not far from the family’s home, and strongly believed in the power of all children earning a good education. Malala inherited her father’s passion for learning, and as a young teenager, she wrote for a blog anonymously about the importance of education for girls everywhere.

The Taliban is a group of fundamentalist Sunni Muslim militants live near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.  This group has killed, terrorized, and tortured those who do not subscribe to their beliefs. The Taliban is strongly antagonistic toward American and NATO forces in Afghanistan and has killed and threaten to kill those who support the work of the United States.

One day in 2012 as Malala was on her way home from school, she was shot defending the rights of girls everywhere. She simply wanted an education and she wanted the same for others. 

My daughters call her brave. I call her a role model. All three of us call her a champion. The world calls her Malala.

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The Malala Fund website has plenty of resources for parents, teachers, and students to support the organization’s mission and stand #withMalala.

Her favorite book is (ad) The Alchemist. That is, next to the book she authored, (ad)  I Am Malala.

She has won the Nobel Peace Prize, met with political leaders from all over the world, and encouraged the President of Nigeria to live up to the promises he’s made his citizens.

This is a girl I want my daughters to know.

The film, (ad)  He Named Me Malala,  is directed by acclaimed director David Guggenheim and released by Fox Searchlight. It is an intimate portrait of Malala’s journey from Swat Valley, Pakistan — where she was shot for standing up for the right to go to school — to Oslo, Norway, where she became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.

Proceeds from the film support The Malala Fund, an organization to empower girls through quality secondary education to achieve their potential and inspire positive change in their communities. This book and movie can connect parents and teens this summer as human rights issues, education, and community outreach is explored. A parent discussion guide, social media kit, and resource guide are available for the public to use on the Malala Fund fund website.

If you’re looking for something to explore with your teens this summer, try a unit on human rights awareness and stand #withMalala.

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