Malala Yousafzai on Her “Second Life”

I have been wondering for a while how Malala Yousafzai’s recovery was really going.  We’ve seen the images that seemed to suggest she was doing well, even though she’s undergone many surgeries.

But I was stunned when I saw the amazing and inspiring video of Malala talking about her goals and her mission as she continues her recovery:

She’s said in the past:

“They will not stop me. I will get my education if it is in home, school, or any place.”

And now she’s asking for support to find girls’ education around the world.

I’m going to have a sit down with my own daughter, who’s not that much younger than Malala herself, about the Malala Fund (I am not associated with them in any way). I know my girl is grateful for the things she has, but it’s hard to give our kids context when it comes to having empathy for others around the world. It’s like when we were kids — if we didn’t clean our plates, our parents would say, “Well, you know there are starving children in Africa who would love your food.” We had no context to understand what that really meant about wasting food. Regardless of whether it was fancy meal or just some soup or mac and cheese, as a child I never worried about whether there would be food on the table.

Similarly, our children, for the most part, don’t worry about whether they will be educated.  Some of us may home school or choose private schools or stick with our public school system. But our children will be educated and at least wind up with a high school diploma.  And I’ve been trying to find just the right thing that could possibly resonate for her in terms of giving and being part of a larger world.  I think some background about Malala’s life is on store for my seventh-grader.

Others in the world knew about this courageous girl long before she was shot and, I suspect, before most Americans.  She wrote a diary for the BBC’s website in 2009 about what it was like to be a girl under Taliban rule and how dangerous it really was for her to get an education. I’m sorry that many of us didn’t know her name until she was almost murdered for wanting an education.

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