by Phyllis Milne, VASCD Board of Directors
"When You Educate A Girl, The World Changes!" According to UNESCO, more than 60 percent of the 110 million children out of school in developing nations are girls. In 20 Prominent nations, gender inequality not only stifles the education of women, but also damages women's sense of self worth. Girls in India, Cambodia, Nepal, Afghanistan, Chad, Papua New Guinea, Haiti, Egypt, and Guatemala face cultural and social challenges such as child marriages, domestic violence, and forced servitude. In Pakistan, Malala's home, over half of the girls are not educated, and female employment rates are second lowest in the world (World Economic Forum Gender Parity Report).
He Named Me Malala opens by describing the Pakistani folk hero for whom Malala was named. The legendary Malala rallied and fought beside Afghani warriors who were victorious at the Battle of Maiwand in 1880. The film continues with glimpses of Malala Yousafzai's family life and video of the schools her father founded as well as scenes from the hospital where Malala recovered after she was shot by the Taliban.
In recognition of her courage and advocacy, Malala was recognized with the International Children's Peace Prize in 2013 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Although she is certain she would be killed if she returned to her home in the Swat Valley, Malala continues to champion education for girls through public appearances and through the malalafund.org that supports educational advocates around the world.
"I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice may be heard."
Yousafzai, M. (2013). I Am Malala. New York, NY: Little Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-32240-9
Guggenheim, D. (2015) He Named Me Malala. Produced by Imagination Abu Dhabi FZ and Participant Media (This 88 minute film is rated PG-13 due to description of the shooting. The documentary has been listed with fourteen other films submitted to the 88th Academy Award in Best Documentary Feature category.)