Malala urges Shehbaz to ensure emergency schooling for girls in aid
Pakistan’s first Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai on Friday urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to include emergency schooling for children, especially girls, in the humanitarian aid being provided to flood-hit citizens of the country and to keep people safe from resurgent terrorists in the scenic valleys.
She said this during a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday after his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.
In a series of tweets afterwards, Malala said she discussed the urgent needs of people affected by floods in Pakistan.
“We are calling on the international community to ease debt pressure and provide immediate humanitarian support,” she said, echoing the demands put forward by Prime Minister Shehbaz and his administration during the UNGA week.
Noting that the floods have destroyed tens of thousands of schools, leaving hundreds of thousands of children without an education, she urged the premier to include funding for emergency schooling, especially for girls, in all humanitarian aid considerations.
“I also shared my concern about the reappearance of Pakistani Taliban in my hometown of Swat valley and other parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province,” she said, adding, “Our people cannot face more terrorism and displacement — they need protection. The right to seek justice and live in peace belongs to everyone in Pakistan.”
Malala gained worldwide recognition when her essays in favor of girl’s education as a teenager drew the ire of the Taliban, who shot her in the face and left her to die.
Malala also raised the issue of women’s freedoms in Afghanistan with PM Shehbaz.
“I asked the Prime Minister to put more pressure on the Taliban to allow Afghan girls to go to school and women to go to work,” she said, reminding that Afghanistan is the only country where girls are banned from secondary school.
“Pakistan must stand for women’s rights and girls’ education,” she urged.
Girls have right to access safe, quality and free education
In a video posted by the UN Headquarters on Thursday featuring Malala, the young girl child education activist and Nobel Laureate reiterated her message that “every girl has the right to have access to safe, quality and free education.”
“As the UN Messenger of Peace, I have taken this pledge that I will advocate for the quality, safe and free education of all children, especially girls around the world,” she says in the video, adding that she is advocating and pushing world leaders on this.
“Most of you know what exactly needs to be done. We are facing an education emergency,” she says in a montage of clips from her address at the UN.
Pointing out how 130 million girls do not have access to schools worldwide, she quantified how this was not just a loss for those girls but also to their communities and the world economy.
“I hope that leaders take education seriously,” she said, emphasizing that it was an important consideration if they want to have a safe and sustainable future for their children.
“They cannot just make these small pledges and these stingy pledges for education,” she said, adding that “high income countries need to be cancelling debts, reducing the burden on the developing countries.”
“They need to be focusing on improving the quality of education and the content of education, and they know what needs to be done.”
Stressing that this should not be a matter of compromise, she urged the world to come together and take action to ensure that all children have access to education and that they make this happen by 2030 - a promise made back in 2015.
“How long do girls have to wait to see the promises that these leaders have made being fulfilled? It’s the wait that really frustrates me.”
“From what’s happening in Pakistan due to the floods that have washed away tens and thousands of schools to what’s happening in Afghanistan where the Taliban have banned girls’ secondary education to then what’s happening due to the Syrian conflict, how children are becoming refugees, and they’re losing their education.
As long as that last girl is out of school, I will keep fighting for her right to education.