Malala Yousafzai is currently enrolled at Oxford University and she is studying Economics, Politics and Philosophy she has been enrolled at the University since 2017. In her younger years she attended school in Pakistan until 2012. She then moved to England and went to High School from 2012 and graduated in 2017 (“Malala’s Story”, 2018).
Malala was born on July 12, 1997 in Mingora, Pakistan she describes that being a girl in Pakistan did not provide many opportunities like not being able to go to school but it was Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai’s objective to ensure that Malala would have the same opportunities as any boy.
Ziauddin was a teacher and decided to open and operated a school in Mingora that was for girls in order to provide Malala with an education (“Malala’s Story”, 2018). In 2008 the Taliban forced their way into Mingora and took charge over every rule and regulation in the town. They outlawed many activities such as listening to music, owning a television and girls going to school (“Malala’s Story”, 2018). In 2009 Malala began to write a blog for the BBC under an anonymous name, she called herself “Gul Makai”. She wrote about what her life was like living under the Taliban’s rules in her town (“Moving moments from”, 2014). In 2012 Malala made the decision to speak publicly to discuss her beliefs that all girls should have the opportunity to go to school and learn. By speaking out publicly it gained the attention of the Taliban and made Malala target for assasination.
On October 9, 2012 Malala was on the bus on her way home from school when a man wearing a mask boarded the bus and identified Malala and proceeded to shoot her in the head and neck. Malala survived the assassination attempt by the Taliban (“Malala’s Story”, 2018). Once she recovered from being shot in the head in 2014, Malala made the decision to continue her battle in making sure every girl has the opportunity to go to school. In order to do this Malala and her father created the Malala Fund which is an organization that is committed to providing every girl the option of a 12 year education in order to obtain whatever they may want out of life. Malala went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize from the creation and performance that the Malala Fund achieved (“Malala Yousafzai: Facts”, 2014).
Malala encountered many supports that assisted her in being the activist and community organizer she is today. One support that she refers to a lot is her father. Ziauddin assisted Malala in establishing the Malala Fund (UN News, 2017). Malala’s father came from a family where he had five sisters and he was the only one allowed to go to school, so since then he has made efforts in giving girls in his village the opportunity to go to school and get an education. Malala’s father motivated and inspired her to find her voice and fight for the right for all girls to be able to have an education. When the Taliban took over Mingora and outlawed girls going to school, Ziauddin encouraged Malala advocate and to let her voice be heard even though it put Malala in danger (UN News, 2017).
Another support that Malala has is her staff at the Malala Fund, she has 30 staff members that assist her in running the fund (“Meet our staff”, 2018). The goals of the staff align with the funds mission statement of breaking down barriers and confronting policies, systems and the methods that are currently in place that are resulting in over 130 million girls not being provided an education (“Work with us”, 2018). With the support of her staff Malala is able to reach more countries and in turn help more girls.
Regarding barriers Malala has encountered them physically and organizationally. A physical barrier that Malala faced occured when she was 15 years old. As mentioned earlier Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban for speaking out about girls education in Pakistan (“Malala’s Story”, 2018). That acted as a physical for Malala that she had to overcome but that barrier made her realize that she should use her life to help other girls all over the world who are not being provided an education and do not have a voice (UN News, 2017).
In an article that Malala wrote for Time Magazine (2018) she discusses barriers that she encounters at macro level. Malala discusses how terrorism and war creates barriers for girls to go to school or to continue in school. When a war breaks out and terrorists infiltrate villages they do not allow girls to be in school. Lastly Malala states how certain governments do not make education a priority and they are not putting enough funding into their education systems (Yousafzai, 2018). On the Malala Fund it discusses different reasons as to why there is 130 million girls who are not in school such as child labour, early marriage, conflict within countries and communities, the cost of education, the health of the girls, gender biases, poor quality of schooling and natural disasters that destroy villages (“Girls’ education”, 2018).
The aim and purpose of Malala’s work as previously stated is to make it so all girls are able to receive an quality education that is of no cost and safe for 12 years (“About”, 2018). Malala has been successful in her work, as mentioned before she created the Malala Fund which works towards providing that 12 year education. The fund does this by working with different countries and recognizing the strengths, areas that need improvement within their education system and working towards changing the policies that may stand in the way. Currently the fund is working with their Gulmakai champions in six countries (“Our work”, 2018).
The Malala Fund website discuss three ways as to how they are creating the long lasting effects of providing girls with a 12 year education (“About”, 2018). The first is by providing girls with an outlet where they can have their voice be heard. The Malala Fund has an online newsletter called Assembly, which allows girls who are working with the Malala Fund can write articles and talk about their experiences and post them online. By providing this creative outlet it gives girls the ability to speak up and advocate for themselves (“Assembly”, 2018). The second is by collaborating with the education activists in the countries and villages where the Malala Fund is present. The fund has a program called the Gulmakai Network where they establish relationships and invest in the activists and educators in the communities where girls do not have the option of secondary schooling, these individuals are called Gulmakai Champions. By providing this program it allows girls get an education (“Our work”, 2018). The third way that Malala and her fund create long lasting effects is by advocating for girls right to education on all levels of government. Malala and the fund do this by working with all leaders on changing policies that create barriers in girls education on the international, national and local levels. Malala and the fund advocate to hold said leaders accountable so that change will be made. By doing this it causes positive change towards girls education and sometimes overall quality of life within the communities and countries affected (“Advocacy”, 2018).
Malala Yousafzai is alive she will be the main person to continue her efforts. But she has empowered a large group of individuals to continue and expand her on work. The individuals that are taking the charge and continuing the efforts of Malala are her Gulmakai Champions. The countries that the champions are currently located in are Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Brazil and Syria. In Afghanistan the main goal that the champions are working toward is locating more female teachers, they are doing this because some families do not allow their girls to go to school if the teacher is a male. Also by attempting to expand the number of girls that attend school they are hoping to eradicate gender discrimination (“Our work”, 2018). In India the champions want to make the secondary schooling that they provide more accessible to girls across the country by advocating for the girls who are out of school and launching enrollment education campaigns (“Our work”, 2018). The champions in Pakistan are advocating for an increase in funding allocated for education and empowering all females to voice their opinions about their rights (“Our work”, 2018). In Nigeria the champions are working towards getting all girls into school who live in areas where Boko Haram is active (“Our work”, 2018). The champions in Brazil assist in providing local teachers education on what gender discrimination is, educating all females to let their voice be heard and teaching them how to advocate for their rights and providing schooling options to trivialized girls (“Our work”, 2018). In Syria the champions goals are to advocate for the abolishment of child marriage and provide refugee girls a classroom education through technology (“Our work”, 2018).
The Gulmakai Champions have a very strong connection to social work. In the Code of Ethics, The National Association of Social Work (NASW) states six core values of social work. The core values are service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence (NASW, 2008). Through their actions and advocacy the Gulmakia Champions align with all six core values of social work.