This past weekend, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani global education advocate and co-founder of the Malala Fund, spent her 17th birthday in Nigeria. She is fighting for the more than 200 girls, “her sisters,” who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram -- all because they sought an education.
Last year, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dubbed July 12th "Malala Day" in honor of her heroic stand to ensure education for all, and Malala addressed an audience of nearly 1,000 youth leaders at the UN. Her words were eloquent and clear: "One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world."
This year, we observe Malala Day on July 14th. With women and girls around the world facing unspeakable challenges every day -- the more than 66 million girls still out of school, the young girls who are forced into marriages when they still are children, the women and girls who are raped and killed every day -- Malala is speaking up for the voiceless through her campaign #StrongerThan.
"We are stronger than those who oppress us, who seek to silence us. We are stronger than the enemies of education. We are stronger than fear, hatred, violence, and poverty."
She inspires all of us to take action, whether big or small, to make the world a better place. The Let Girls Learn Initiative is a new effort by the United States Government, and led by USAID, to provide the public with meaningful ways to help all girls to get a quality education. In support of this effort, USAID also announced over $230 million for new programs to support education around the world. Join us, and find out more about what you can do to help at www.usaid.gov/letgirlslearn.
About the Author: Lisa Blonder serves as Senior Education Officer in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.