Last fall I wrote an article on the tragic experiences of two teenaged girls, Malala Yousafzai, and Amanda Todd. It was with some trepidation that I sent the article to the junior and senior high school English teachers at the Education for Life schools in Palo Alto and Nevada City, California. I was concerned that the material might be too distressing for the students, but decided to send it, trusting the teachers to make the final choices about presentation. Below are a few of the students’ responses. I was quite impressed with their sensitivity and strength. The senior high students wrote essays. The junior high teacher had his students create shields incorporating the themes of the two incidents. Nitai Deranja
Malala Yousafzai and Her Dream
Throughout the world, many people live life with injustices inflicted upon them every day, from hunger, to the lack of human rights, to no education. Unfortunately, not everyone has the ability or knowledge of how to fix these problems in our world. All it takes, though, is a spark of an idea, motivation, strong feelings, support, and the commitment to achieve the goal. Throughout history, many people have changed the paths in which we walk and contributed to the good of all people. Some examples include Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, John Muir, and Julia Butterfly. These are only a few of the thousands who have made a difference in our lives. One of the most current heroes is named Malala Yousafzai, a girl who stood up for her desire for education in Pakistan and at a young age voiced her opinions. Malala’s actions not only helped the world and opened the minds of the restrictive cultures, but they set an example of how one person can make a difference by taking action.
Malala’s story began when the Taliban closed hundreds of schools in Pakistan, especially those for girls. Malala’s dream was to become a doctor and therefore she needed a strong education. She decided to create a blog and communicate her thoughts to others and start some action. She kept promoting her ideas and eventually was granted the National Youth Peace Prize, the first to be granted to a someone from Pakistan. One day, Malala and many other kids were riding home on a bus, when two officials stopped them. “Which one of you is Malala Yousafzai?” they yelled. They found Malala, pulled out a gun, and shot her twice as well as injuring two other girls. She immediately was transferred to a hospital in Europe where she and the other two girls all survived. This event horrified the people in Pakistan and those who heard the news throughout the world causing them to stand by Malala and her beliefs and intentions. Pakistan is now moving towards the goal that Malala set her mind to and with continued help, it will achieve this goal.
Malala’s story also helped many others throughout the world and Malala became an example of how someone can make a difference. Part of the culture of the Middle East oppresses girls and women, and Malala’s courage broke the pattern of old habits and customs. She is also an inspiration to people throughout the world and already people have started to act, especially involving education. By making education a priority in Pakistan, she highlighted its importance to other countries lacking those rights. Here in the West, many of us take for granted the things that many other countries and people are fighting hard for. Around a hundred years ago, people in America were fighting for some of the same rights including education, freedom of speech, equal rights, and women’s rights, and more. We must all be grateful for having food to eat, clean water to drink, a house to live in, friends to be with, a school to attend, work, and the rights, which America gives us. It is imperative that people stop being ignorant and start standing up for truth and equality for all people. Additionally, the people who are lucky to live with many luxuries such as we have, need to stand up for people who are working hard to achieve them.
This story definitely inspires me to start some project for the good of the planet. Every day, I hear stories about various events around the world. This story in particular interested me, as it was about a strong female my age whose determination changed the world. Also, I share the same love for education, which was her main drive. In my opinion, the tragic parts of this story made it easier for people to stand by her as they saw proof of some of the injustices, which the people of Pakistan endure. I think that since the world is going through tremendous changes, sparks will light up all over the world of people who stand up for their beliefs and one by one, this planet will become a safer and better place. I find it surprising how the terrorists felt so threatened by one child. And yet, because of Malala, Pakistan now has education for all the youth.
Over all, we must find inspiration in how Malala has helped. And from her actions, we can find something that interests us and discover ways we, too, can help. If we don’t deal with the prejudices now, we will only be passing them into the hands of the next generation and making them carry the burden. Some day people will live a life that supports them and allows them to thrive. However, we must work hard to achieve that goal. So let’s take action now! S.P.
Malala Yousafzai – An Inspiration to the World
Malala Yousafzai’s example of courage, determination, and commitment to her beliefs has inspired people around the world. Malala spoke out about education rights for girls and women, and held firm to what she believed in, even when her life was in danger. Malala has demonstrated that when an individual fights long enough and doesn’t give up, truth and justice will triumph in the end…
….Malala’s bravery and undying determination to speak up for her basic right for education now has the attention of the world. She has not only influenced people with her words, but also by her courageous actions. Her example encourages girls in her county who were in similar situations as her to stand up for their rights. Malala continues to fight against injustice to girls and women and inspire the world to do the same. Her story is important to remember and share because it can motivate people to stand up and speak out about situations that really matter. P.L.
… It is hard to believe that a fifteen-year-old girl could intimidate the world’s most brutal terrorist group. Sometimes words are more powerful than weapons, because words portray the truth, and truth is often what hurts most. It takes a big amount of courage and effrontery to be the first to stand up, to be the one that others follow and respect. thank you, Malala, for being the one to stand up and prove to the world that women a re not possessions, and that every single person in the world deserves an education. S.Z. Shields from the junior high students follow: