The “other Malalas”

Having spent the past few weeks in Pakistan, I have been reasonably exposed to varied press coverage of Malala Yousafzai at the ceremony to receive her Nobel Peace Prize. I laud her bravery and the steps she has taken to increase awareness about  the need to empower girls through education. I am particularly cognisant of the fact that she herself acknowledges the many “other Malalas” around the world who are fighting for girls to be given the right to be educated. This sentiment is also recognised by various international organisations, such as Plan International who developed the inspiring video supporting girls’ rights to quality education.

Whilst browsing the internet for information about Malala for this blog post, I came across this image on the left, which contains the quote by her, “Do rememeber one thing. Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”

Malala is referring to a Day named in her honour, initiated by the Global Education First Initiative, the UN Secretary General’s  global initiative on education to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the ‘Education for All’ and other education-related Millennium Development Goals.

The concept of having a special day to commemorate the raising of voices in support of education brought to mind a recent discussion that I had with my supervisor over at his blog. We exchanged some posts about the significance of having special days to recognise certain issues. I am in favour of such days for the attention they bring to matters, regardless of whether those issues are being successfully addressed. I wonder what views you have on the topic. Do you think days such as Malala Day should be observed? Do you think such days should be named after an individual? What benefits do such commemorations have? Feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Saneeya Qureshi © 2014

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