As she launches her new campaign for governments to spend more money on education - and less on warfare - it's time to give the teenager a high five
Can you believe it’s less than a week until Malala Yousafzai‘s 18th birthday? Nope, us neither. But as the teenager Nobel Peace Prize Laureate approaches her big day, she isn’t focusing on whether she wants candles in a chocolate cake or Victoria Sponge. She isn’t talking about what dress she wants to wear, or who she wants to hang out with. She isn’t even talking about helium balloons.
Instead, she’s talking about changing the world – and the fact that, unbelievably, governments spend more on wars (caused by ignorance and intolerance) than they do on education.
In an essay written for The Telegraph, Malala reveals that she’s launching a new campaign, entitled #BooksNotBullets, to promote peaceful, educated and equal living across the world.
These are our favourite moments…
WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT HOW MANY OTHER GIRLS THERE ARE, JUST LIKE HER
‘Many people tell me that I am special. However, it leads me to ask myself: am I unique because I’m a girl who was stopped from getting an education? Because that is also true for over 60 million other girls around the world.’
WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT HOW POWERFUL WE CAN ALL BE WHEN WE UNITE
‘When the Taliban stopped me from going to school and wanted to silence me, you defended me. You spoke up for me, prayed for me, you sang my song during those dark days when my voice was silenced. I became stronger because of the support of my family and the support from the millions of sisters and brothers from all around the world.’
WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT REFUGEES’ RIGHT TO EDUCATION
‘Being a refugee is no excuse to learn less. On the contrary, it is a motivation to learn more. Their situation could not, and should not, be an excuse for them to receive less than their right — a quality primary and secondary education.’
WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY GOVERNMENTS SPEND ON WAR
‘There are seven million Syrian refugee children. Two million are still out of school… Education is the only chance to salvage their future. So I ask: what will it take to educate [them all] for 12 years? The Education For All Global Monitoring Report found it would take $39 billion annually. It seems like a big number, an impossible number. In reality, it represents what world governments spend on their militaries in just eight days.’
WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT THE POWER OF TEENAGE GIRLS
‘I want world leaders to choose books over bullets. It may look as if I am naive. I’m still a teenager. But I measure the world in hope, not doubt. We can afford to give every girl 12 years of free education. It is absolutely in our power, and when we do, we will realise a whole new world of possibility.’
WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT HOPE, POSSIBILITY AND THE FUTURE
‘Getting millions of girls into school seems impossible. Like my story, it is not. What we have seen is that when we choose to act, girls in the darkest corners of the world can be reached with the light of education.’
You can read the full piece here.