Youngest Nobel laureate and Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai, does not approve on fellow countrymen views accusing her of being a hero in foreign countries and a villain at home.
In an Emirates Festival of Literature entitled ” Malala Yousafzai in Conversation”, she replied to a question by a Pakistani from her home Village, Swat Valley, who witnessed the plight she and her family encountered: ” I came across such comments on social media though I don’t give them much attention. I don’t agree with you, Pakistanis I met during my trip in 2018 did not call me that. Many sent their girls to schools and named their daughters after me.
“I’m optimistic, I didn’t see the hate on social media in my trip to Pakistan. I don’t see the existence of Pakistan on social media in real life,” she added.
Currently, Malala Fund is finalising a construction project of a girl’s high school in Pakistani Shamla Village, along with digital education initiatives in Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Brazil.
The fund, she added, dreams simple but big; the right of free and full 12-year education and digital learning for girls. Nigeria began radio lessons for children while Pakistan introduced digital lessons on national TV and mobile applications.
For Malala, Covid-19 caused gender-related problems that could increase if not dealt with. Around 130 million girls are out of school including 27 million in Brazil, 2 million in Ethopia, 108 million in India and 12 million in Pakistan.
” I hope governments, teachers and education activists play a role, give importance to girls and ensure they learn from home. Pandemics are unpredictable and women and girls could be discriminated against. During Ebola, there was a risk that 20 million girls were out of schools either to work or were forced into marriage,” she said.
Malala urged girls to ignore racist comments on social media. “Don’t communicate with those writers. Rebel and challenge status quo. Those people want you to stay at home rather than becoming an astronaut, an IT company CEO, or a physicist. Resist and become one.”
She also hoped future high school curricula include critical thinking, gender-related and sex education, along with arts and jobs in order to encourage students choose their goals. Critical thinking is crucial in the time of the internet because they can research writers’s words and why they wrote them. Sex education is important because lots of girls and women in Pakistan don’t know about their bodies due to the stigma attached to them. Digital education is often associated with men but girls need that too.”