Malala Yousafzai, 16, Inspires World With Mission for Peace Through Education


By Heidi Oran

“Why should I wait for someone else? … Why don’t I raise my voice?” – Malala Yousafzai on her decision to stand up for girls to be able to attend school.

One thing I’ve always been acutely aware of is how I’ve basically won the lottery on where I was born. Not only the country, but the decade too. And if you’re reading this, you probably did too. We have the ability to choose where we are headed in life.

Unfortunately, you and I do not make up the majority. I don’t need to get into the statistics because you already know that women throughout the world are not treated equal to men. Young girls the world over have to fight for basic rights like education – girls like Malala Yousafzai.

When 16-year-old Malala sat down to chat with Jon Stewart on October 8th’s episode of The Daily Show, the world stood still. It was a rare occasion when even the most skeptical of humanity understood what courage and bravery looked like. Who would have thought that a young girl from Pakistan could make such a profound impact on so many?

In the interview Malala revealed that she knew she had to use her voice and speak up for girls’ education. She didn’t want to play a passive role in her future or the future of her community. She became an accidental spokesperson for the job, and quickly a target of the Taliban.

As you likely know, Malala was shot by a member of the Taliban on her way to school one day. Had she not survived, we would never have heard her story We would never understand what motivated her to step up to the patriarchal norms of her country and shake things up by demanding education. We would have missed witnessing someone who is capable of initiating change, not from a space of revenge or anger, but from a space of hope.

In the interview with Stewart, Malala spoke these words: “You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.” It would appear that the world as much to learn from this young woman.

Heidi Oran is a writer and career coach with a passion for change. She writes the blog The Conscious Perspective, and co-founded The Millennial Pulse Podcast. You can connect with her on Twitter here.



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