On October 9, two days before the first-ever International Day of the Girl, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot on her way home from school in Pakistan. She regained consciousness on October 16 but faces a long road to recovery.
CARE is deeply saddened by the news of the attack on Malala, whose courage and hope make her a true hero in the movement to assure girls around the world have access to education. Our thoughts are with Malala and her family.
Malala became an advocate for girls’ education in Pakistan at the age of 11 when she agreed to write a blog for the BBC about her life as a schoolgirl in the Swat valley, where the Taliban were active. This blog, “Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl” became popular around the world and since then Malala has gone on to give a widely-publicized speech entitled “How Dare the Taliban Take Away My Basic Right to Education?” and to appear in a documentary.
The citizens of Pakistan have shown widespread support for Malala, as have people around the globe. This outpouring stems in part from a growing understanding of what Malala stands for: educating and empowering girls is one of the best ways to improve their lives, their families and their communities.
In Pakistan, where 15 million children are out of school, CARE partners with local organizations and communities to build schools around the country, including in the Swat valley that Malala calls home. As a result, children are able to return to their own schools and travel shorter distances to get their education. The projects have reduced overcrowding in classrooms and helped the children return to normalcy.
We also support a number of youth activities, such as sports events and youth forums in schools in Pakistan. These educational activities help children discuss their futures and the challenges they face.
A decent education provides children the foundation they need to reach their full potential, and is a basic right that no child should be denied.
However, 132 million children ages 15 and younger – the majority of whom are girls – aren’t in school today. Without education and subsequent opportunity, the marginalized existence of girls and women will continue. This represents a failure of basic human rights but also an enormous lost opportunity, because an educated girl is more likely to raise a smaller family, have healthier children, delay marriage, participate in political processes and send her own children to school. Together, these factors lead to more productive and stable communities around the world.
About CARE: Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than six decades of experience delivering emergency aid during times of crisis. Our emergency responses focus on the needs of the most vulnerable populations, particularly girls and women. Last year CARE worked in 84 countries and reached 122 million people around the world. To learn more, visit www.care-international.org.«All Stories and Blogs