Nobel Prize laureate and education activist Malala Yousafzai visited Capitol Hill to encourage more funding for her cause, advocating that every country in the world to be able to provide 12 years of free education to both boys and girls — and she wants the US to help.
17-year old Malala and her father Ziauddin visited with Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), and John McCain (R-Ariz.), as well as Reps. Kay Granger (R-Tex.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), writes Ali Weinberg of ABC News.
Her goal was to encourage this bipartisan group to increase spending on the education of girls all over the world in keeping with the goals of the Global Partnership for Education and Michelle Obama’s Let Girls Learn initiative.
In a written statement prior to her arrival, Yousafzai said:
It is time that a bold and clear commitment is made by the US to increase funding and support governments around the world to provide 12 years of free primary and secondary education for everyone by 2030.
She made the same appeal to the World Bank and the United Nations the previous day, reports Radio Free Europe.
According to Emily Heil of the Washington Post, when speaking with the lawmakers she used particularly effective rhetoric: What would you want for your own children?
Yousafzai, born in 1997, became known globally in 2012 when the Taliban attempted to assassinate her for supporting girls’ schools in Pakistan by writing a widely shared blog post for the BBC under a pseudonym. She was shot in the head and survived, writes Danielle Hayes of UPI. In 2014, she was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize along with Kailash Satyarthi.
On her 16th birthday, addressing the UN, Yousafzai said:
The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage was born. … I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I’m here to speak up for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists.
Girls in a variety of countries and cultures worldwide are denied opportunity, whether for religious reasons (as evidenced by the Taliban’s retaliation against Malala’s efforts), being forced to stay home and help with household tasks, early marriage, or simply the devaluation of women’s education.