Malala spends birthday in Iraq with girls kept out of school by Daesh

Shot by the Taliban for promoting women’s education in Pakistan, activist Malala Yousafzai recently finished secondary school in the UK. She stops in Iraq as part of the Girl Power Trip which amplifies voices of girls fighting for an education.

Photo by: Photo courtesy Malin Fezehai for Malala Fund
Photo by: Photo courtesy Malin Fezehai for Malala Fund

Malala Yousafzai meets with children in a camp for Mosul evacuees. (Credit: Malin Fezehai for Malala Fund)

Updated Jul 13, 2017

Post-millennials do things differently, to say the least. But Malala Yousafzai is the kind of post-millennial who made an almost indelible mark on activism for girls education even before she hit 20, what with becoming the youngest Nobel Laureate.

Yousafzai is spending her 20th birthday with girls in northern Iraq who were unable to go to school under Daesh rule.

She started her Girl Power Trip in April; she is travelling across the world to engage with girls and amplify their voices to fight for their right to a study for at least 12 years.

"Two days ago, I landed in northern Iraq, just as the government declared victory in Mosul. Fighting in the streets may be over, but our fight for girls continues," she blogged on Wednesday, her birthday.

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi announced victory against Daesh in Mosul on Monday. The terror group had taken control of the Iraqi city in 2014 and the Iraqi forces spent months fighting a gruelling battle which displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Yousafzai finished secondary school on July 7 which was another kind of achievement as Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in Swat, Pakistan in 2012 for promoting girls education, which the militants called “the new chapter of obscenity.” She received a conditional offer from Oxford University in England.

She first gained international attention when she blogged for the BBC in 2009 under the pseudonym of Gul Makai about the Taliban’s closing down girls schools.  

“I chose to spend my birthday this year in Iraq to meet girls like 13-year-old Nayir,” Yousafzai blogged. “When extremists occupied Mosul, Nayir could not go to school for three years. Her family fled the city in April, when her father was captured by ISIS (Daesh). They haven’t heard from him since,”  she said.


Nayir at her camp in northern Iraq. July 12, 2017. (Tess Thomas for Malala Fund)

“Nayir is one of three million displaced people in Iraq. Half are children and almost half of them aren’t in school. The odds are worse for girls,” Yousafzai said.

But, her blog said, Nayir might have fled Mosul, she was determined to finish her studies, Yousafzai’s blog read. Nayir is currently studying in a stuffy hot tent school; something children from Malala’s hometown experienced when they were displaced during the fight against the Taliban in 2008.

“But Nayir knows that education is her best chance for a better future. After all, she has suffered, she described the feeling of returning to school: ‘It was as if all my hopes came back.’ I know how Nayir feels,” Yousafzai wrote.

“When my family fled violence in my home in Swat Valley, Pakistan, I spent every day wondering if I would return to the classroom. I thought, at only 11 years old, that my future was lost,” she said.

“While I’m in Iraq, I will meet many girls who share my story. These girls — Iraqi, Kurdish, Christian, Yazidi, Syrian — have all suffered violence and fear in their young lives.

They could have hope for the future, hope to build better lives for themselves. But today, most of them cannot go to school.

We should not ask children forced to flee their homes to also give up their education and their dreams. We cannot allow girls like Nayir to fight alone.”

Source: 
TRTWorld