Malala to me is a sign of fearlessness, a symbol of courage, the voice of millions of girls around the world who are refused their fundamental right to education. The recent case being, the abduction of an estimated 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria by terrorist group Boko Haram from their school in Chibok in northeastern Nigeria on April 14. Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates as “Western education is a sin” in the local Hausa language, is trying to impose Sharia law across Nigeria and especially opposes the education of women.
“I know education is what separates a girl who is trapped in a cycle of poverty, fear and violence from one with a chance at a better future.”
~ Malala Yousafzai
Malala’s first fight was against Taliban in Afghanistan where girls were banned from attending schools. And now the same thing is happening in Nigeria. If you look closer, the same thing is happening in our country too. The cities though crowded with schools at every nook and corner, there are many households where girls are not supposed to attend colleges or aspire for higher education or build a career. And when cities are having such morons what can we expect from rural villages which do not even have basic infrastructure? If not by a terrorist group, by her own family, a girl is forced to quit, be oppressed, be dominated. The patriarchal societies put roadblocks in our way to stop us from moving forward.
Why do you think girls are refused their fundamental right to education?
The reasons are many. But all of them are irrelevant and illogical. Some say the girls have to just get married, give birth and look after the household. Some say that the boys of the family are the ones who have to earn the bread. Some say it is not safe for girls to attend schools. Some say they do not have money to fund her education even while the government has made education free for children under the age of 14. All of these are mere excuses. The basic reason for this refusal to our fundamental right is this.
Their fear. Fear of a girl becoming empowered. Fear of a girl becoming independent. Fear of being unable to oppress a girl. Fear of being unable to exercise their authority on her life.
And this fear is because we are strong.
I am #StrongerThan them.
I am #StrongerThan their barbaric acts.
I am #StrongerThan their fear.
I am #StrongerThan their terrorism.
I am #StrongerThan their poverty.
I am #StrongerThan their insecurities.
I am #StrongerThan my own weaknesses.
This and this alone is the truth. And when we realize it there’s no looking back. Just like Malala, who is just half my age, each one of us can contribute for the betterment of our world. We are all strong, it’s just a matter of realizing it.
Girls across the world must stand up together as one. United. This is a fight for justice. A fight for us to be able to see our own strength. Education will make us strong. To get access to education we must realize how strong we are and how much more stronger we can be with education.