#MalalaDay and #GIRLWITHABOOK

MalalaDay

This past Friday was Malala Day. Malala Yousafzai visited the United Nations and addressed the UN Youth Assembly to advocate for peace and education. To see this girl standing at the podium speaking with such grace and confidence only 9 months after she was shot in the head by the Taliban was beyond incredible. Before that, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown introduced her to the podium in the best possible way. He said something along the lines of “The Taliban never wished for you to hear these next words: Happy 16th Birthday!”

Malala talked about the need for peace and access to education for every single child. There should be no excuses for us not to work towards that goal. I felt tears sting my eyes when I heard this part of her speech:

Dear Friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.  I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. My dreams are the same.

Malala UN speech

If you missed her speech, not to worry! You can watch it here. And you can read the full text of her speech here.

Besides hearing Malala’s speech, we at #GIRLWITHABOOK received some phenomenal news from the UN! After several attempts of trying to get in touch with the Pakistani consulate in the UK and sending copies to the consulate, we were finally able to deliver our photo book to Malala! On Malala Day! We sent an additional copy to the UN a couple weeks ago after learning that Malala would be visiting the UN on her birthday, and then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave the book to her himself.


MalalaBook1MalalaBook2

You can see more pictures of Malala Day through the UN flickr account.

I think I’m still freaking out by the fact that Olivia and I actually managed to get this photo book into Malala’s hands. And none of it would have been possible without the support from hundreds of people from all over the world. #GIRLWITHABOOK would be nothing without the love that our followers shared through their pictures.

As for what our next plans are for #GIRLWITHABOOK…well we realized that we downright suck at fundraising. So we are working on building those skills and we’re hoping that eventually we can properly learn how to effectively bring in/contribute money to girls’ education, a cause we care about deeply.

Meanwhile, we are also in the process of creating a website/blog where we hope to establish an online community that is devoted to talking about women’s rights, the basics of feminism, the importance of education and the immense difference it can bring to a girl’s life. We haven’t gone public with it yet, but Inshallah (God willing) we plan on doing so within a couple weeks!

Stay tuned. This movement is just beginning.

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November 10: A Day for Malala

I don’t know if you heard but UN Special Envoy for Global Education, Gordon Brown, has declared November 10th to be a global day of action for Malala Yousafzai and 32 million other girls. In about a week, it will have been one month since the assassination attempt on Malala and Gordon Brown is traveling to Pakistan on that day to deliver a petition that’s got over a million signatures to President Zardari. This petition is proof that the people want education to be treated as a priority and that keeping girls out of school is not an option. If that interests you, you can sign the petition here: http://educationenvoy.org/petition

In a recent Huffington Post article, Gordon Brown wrote,

“When I hand him the petition I will ask the President to lead governmental changes in policy to ensure the delivery of girls’ education in Pakistan. I will also submit our petition to the United Nations to galvanize international support for the right of every child to go to school. I will announce in addition a new foundation in Malala’s honor as just a few weeks before her shooting she told her friends that her aim was to set up the Malala foundation to campaign for the 32 million girls around the world who are not at school. I am now appealing to the international community of global citizens to lead this day of action.

Well, #GIRLWITHABOOK is going to help. On November 10th, we invite everyone to submit another picture. This time though, we ask you to write a sign that says, “I stand with Malala” and take a picture of yourself holding it. On that day, we want hundreds of these pictures to flood our inbox, Facebook page, tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest, you name it.

So what do you say? Will you join us?

Olivia and me

You can also email your pictures to girlwithabookmovement@gmail.com.

The pictures we received beforehand, as well as the ones we hope to receive on November 10th, are all going to be included in the book we are compiling and eventually sending to Malala. By the way, the deadline to submit pictures to us for the book is November 13th!