Sunday, October 21, 2012

Taking A Stand…


Sapna and Malala… two teenage girls from India and Pakistan who both took a stand for what they believed in. Sapna said no to an early marriage while Malala refused to cow down to Taliban threats and struggled to gain an education, advocating that girls should have access to education.

How far would you go to make a stand for what you strongly believe in?

“I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education. And I am afraid of no one.” – Malala Yousafzai
When 14-year old Malala from Pakistan was shot by the Taliban for openly advocating education for girls, the world was shocked and in uproar at the barbaric attempt to silence her for fighting for girls’ rights to education.

Living at Swat Valley where the Taliban has at times banned girls from attending school, Malala took to blogging under a pseudonym to tell the world of the plight of girls in her valley and the Taliban's attempt to take control. She has gained media coverage and accepted interviews from local and international press. She has since then been nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize  by Desmond Tutu and won Pakistan's first International Children's Peace Prize. 

Malala’s advocacy almost caused her her life. Though she has started standing up with assistance, she is still unable to talk and only communicates by writing. She continues to slowly recover in a British hospital but she isn’t over the woods yet..she is still physically in critical condition and her life is still in danger from the Taliban who vowed to try killing her again. Extremists continue in their attempt to smear Malala’s name claiming she works for and is in connivance with the United States.  She knew she could be paying a great price for what she is standing up for but she never looked back. She is fighting for what she believes in and her action has only strengthened the resolve on many that girls have a right to an education as anyone else and should not be deprived of it.

“I’ll tell my neighbors that child marriage is against the law and they should educate their children.” – Sapna
In Sapna’s village, teenage girls were expected to be married by the age of eighteen. But Sapna had other plans. She wanted an education. She wanted to work and earn a living…then get married.  So when she heard her parents talking about getting her married off, she drummed up enough courage to tell her parents and grandfather who raised her that she wanted to study first and not get married. Sapna’s lucky. She has a supportive family. They listened. They understood. They supported her decision. Now her village is abuzz. Now other parents would tell her parents and grandfather whenever they would meet them at the village that they too would not get their daughters married before they are eighteen. 

One little girl’s dream to have an education. One little girl who bravely took a stand for what she wanted and believed in, and helped change the outlook of elders in her community.  Now they too would want their daughters to go to school and have an education. They too would not want to marry off their daughters before they’re eighteen.

Two teenage girls Sapna and Malala, who both took a stand to be educated, now they are making a difference in shaping the future of girls in their country…

Videos:

Malala - http://youtu.be/25wW4hwk8Gk
Sapna   - http://youtu.be/2qhbdGxDrxI


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