Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai spent her 19th birthday at Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya to highlight the global refugee crisis and challenges girls face in getting an education. In a blog post from the camp, she asks the world to join the fight to get more girls into school.
Dadaab refugee camp, located near the Kenyan border to Somalia, houses more than 300,000 refugees displaced by famine and war.
In a blog post from the camp, Yousafzai reminds the world of a global agreement almost a year ago to guarantee every child 12 years of education.
She writes, “Every year on my birthday I travel to meet girls who are struggling to go to school – to stand with them and to make sure the world hears their stories.
Today in Dadaab, I met Rahma Hussein Noor, a 19-year-old who has struggled more than most of us can imagine just to go to school.
Rahma came to Dadaab at age 13, having never set foot in a classroom. She worked hard to catch up with her classmates and, in a few years, graduated primary school.
Rahma then enrolled in a secondary school in Dadaab. But when her family returned to Somalia last year, Rahma could not find another school to attend.
After two months, her father said her education was over and decided to marry her to a man over 50 years old whom Rahma had never met.
Rahma snuck out of her house and took an eight-day bus ride back to the refugee camp … all to continue her education.
Rahma is not alone. Many girls from Syria, Burundi, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all around the world have lost so much and are then forced to fight for a right they already have – the right to go to school.
Last year, the world agreed to provide 12 years of education for every boy and girl. Yet, nearly one year after making the commitment, where do we stand?
We are facing a global refugee crisis and more and more girls like Rahma are at risk of losing their chance to go to school – and their dreams for a better future.
We cannot allow girls like Rahma to fight alone. It’s time to do right by girls – #YesAllGirls.
Today, on my 19th birthday, I’m asking you to stand with me and keep fighting for girls around the world who are denied an education. Will you make a gift today to ensure girls – #YesAllGirls – get the education we promised them?
Nothing would make me prouder on my birthday than knowing we are in this together.”
With the hashtag #yesallgirls Malala has dedicated her 19th birthday to meet girls from the world over. The Nobel prize winner hopes to call the world’s attention to the promise of education that was made to these girls.
On her last birthday, Yousufzai opened a girls’ school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
When Malala turned 16 she delivered a speech at the United Nations headquarters calling for worldwide access to education. United Nations secretary general Ban Ki-Moon declared July 12 as ‘Malala Day’ to commemorate the day.
“Malala day is not my day, but the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights,” said the young education activist.
Malala rose to fame after she blogged to BBC about the Taliban occupation in the Swat region and the manner in which they created obstacles in women’s access to education.
Her story was documented by the New York Times after which Malala openly spoke about the state of education in the country. Once Malala became vocal of her disapproval of the Taliban she started receiving death threats and on October 2012 was shot by militants.
Yousufzai spent a long time in hospitals and underwent treatment until she was discharged in January 2013.
She received the Nobel Peace Prize making her the youngest recipient of the award for her efforts to promote education for girls all over the world.
The young Nobel laureate has recently attained ‘millionaire’ status through the proceeds of her book ‘I am Malala’ and her speeches. She spends a large amount of that money in building schools and funding education for girls.
Yousufzai has received over 40 different national and international awards and honours for her contribution to girls’ education world over and was also the subject of Oscar nominated documentary, ‘He Named Me Malala.’