Book Review: "I Am Malala; The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and got shot by the Taliban"

I am an avid reader of all genres, but I especially love memoirs and thought this was a great one to share since it’s dear to the hearts of us at One World Tuition; educating girls.

Malala is from a lovely valley in Northern Pakistan named Swat. She describes her home as “a heavenly kingdom of mountains, gushing waterfalls and crystal-clear lakes.” She is the oldest of three children and the only girl. When she was born, her father, Ziauddin, rejoiced even though the custom in Pakistan is to not rejoice over a girl child first; sons are held in higher regard. But despite the culture, Malala’s father decided his own mind when it came to his happiness. He was a teacher who opened schools in their region that accepted both boys and girls to attend. Her father knew the importance of his daughter having an education. He had had sisters and they were made to stay home and wait to be married; they did not go to school.

Malala often describes how passionate she was about her schoolwork; she always had a knack for public speaking and would participate in competitions with her classmates in the village. Her mother started school when she was 6 and stopped the same term, even though her father and brothers encouraged her to go to school. She felt there was no point in going to school if she would only grow up to cook, clean, have and raise children.

From an early age, Malala was interested in politics and would sit on her father’s lap listening to discussions among the men. She felt a deep connection with her father who encouraged her to study, learn and use opportunities to speak change into the world.

When Malala was in her early teens, the rise of the Taliban began to be evident in her village. Radio announcements would encourage the people in her village to change their ways regarding men and women gender roles. Over time, girls were targeted when they went to school or women who were alone with a man were attacked. When Malala asked her father why the Taliban is afraid to let girls go to school, he said “They are scared of the pen.”

Malala states “The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn’t stop our minds from thinking.” Can you imagine living in such a place where you are forbidden to attend school? Your entire future is controlled by group who pledges violence, targeting women and young girls. In America, we take school for granted; as a basic human right. For many in the world, it’s a luxury and reserved for the boys and men leaving women to stay at home to take care of the household (still a valuable position but should not be her only option).

At one point, Malala was contacted by her father’s friend, Abdul Hai Kakar, a BBS radio correspondent and he was looking for a female schoolgirl to write a diary about life under the Taliban. They decided to change Malala’s name and she would give Abdul stories about her life, school and village to bring awareness to the situation. She says “I began to see that the pen and the words that come from it can be much more powerful than machine guns, tanks or helicopters. We were learning how to struggle. And we were learning how powerful we are when we speak.” Malala quickly saw that what she writes can be powerful and changes circumstances around her world.

She often states being afraid that the Taliban would throw acid on her face if she was caught wearing or doing something the Taliban didn’t approve; her fear didn’t stop her from seeking her greatest desire, an education.

Malala shares that because she had two supportive parents, it made all the difference in her life. Many children around the world have lost one or both parents to disease, war, famine, and more. One World Tuition is helping provide an education to the next generation, giving them hope and a chance to know that they are loved and valued. They have a purpose and a place in this world, and they deserve a chance to grow and soar.

When her family was forced to evacuate her home and become Internationally Displaced Persons (IDPs), she had to leave her school bag with all her books because it wouldn’t fit in the vehicle. She cried and prayed for their safety. I’m not sure about you, but I have never felt this way about my schoolbooks – I’ve never had to fight for them, leave them behind and I certainly never treasured them the way Malala did her own.

The day Malala was shot, she was sitting on the school bus with a few other girls. The bullet went in just next to her left eye and was lodged in her shoulder. She has since recovered after a long process.

She received the Nobel Peace Prize and gave a speech at the UN being quoted as saying “Let us pick up our book and our pens, they are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”

Watch it here.

Women and girls all around the world are more likely to leave school early than their counterparts. Due to the cost, or lack of support they are not able to start or even finish their schooling. We know that when a woman in educated, her entire household gains the benefits.

If you have an book recommendations, email me at erica@oneworldtuition.org and you may see it featured on the blog as a must read!

 

As always,

Never stop learning!

Erica