LESSONS FROM MALALA: PART 2
Chima F. Madu
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This is a continuation of my last post "Lessons from Malala: Part 1" in which I talked about six learns I learnt from Malala Yousafzai’s story. Below is a discussion of more lessons I gathered from Malala.
7) Women should have the same access to education like men. I am yet to find a compelling argument that supports the idea that women should not have the same access to education like men. I have five sisters and I cannot imagine going to school while they stay at home. According to William Shakespeare “Ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven.” In the context of his words if heaven is meant for all why should women be under a curse and limited in their quest for knowledge? Knowledge is power and it is meant for all. An African proverb says, “If we educate a boy, we educate one person. If we educate a girl, we educate a family – and a whole nation.”
8) Islam is a religion of peace. Regardless of all the misinterpretation and the extremism attached to the words of the prophet, Islam still remains a religion of peace. May Allah have mercy on all those who interpret his word to satisfy their selfish desires.
9) Peace is indeed necessary for education. A great step to achieving global education is to first achieve global peace. In war torn areas, homes are being bombarded. Is it easy for children go to school when they don’t have peaceful homes to go from or return to? Are the schools even safer? Schools are also being destroyed. This means more wars consequently lead to more children out of school. In Nigeria, Boko Haram once declared that they will not kill children but they will kill their teachers and burn down schools. Does this make any difference? Killing their teachers and burning down schools is the same thing as killing the children. Schools are a major source of education but education takes place far beyond the four walls of a classroom. The inability to go to school should not discourage anyone from acquiring any piece of knowledge available. If everyone can work together to put an end to most wars, then more children will get back to school.
10) Poverty, ignorance, injustice, racism and the deprivation of basic rights are the main problems faced by all peoples and we can find solutions to all these problems in our own little way. With poverty, we should share and be kind to poor people, it is a blessing. With ignorance, we should all strive to get educated or to learn new things at all times and for those who are learned, share what you have learnt with others. With injustice, be fair and just to the people around you. With racism, stop segregation and discrimination; in the end heaven makes room for everyone without any prejudice. Do not deny people their own rights just because you want to enjoy your own rights.
11) Communities should be tolerant and reject prejudice based on cast, creed, sect, religion or gender and ensure freedom and equality for women so that they can flourish.
12) Women need to get more independent, embrace the strength within themselves, realize their full potentials and fight for themselves especially for their rights and girls’ education. Parents should bring up their daughters with this spirit. Most women are already doing this and many more women should develop this habit.
13) Empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and shield ourselves with unity and togetherness. United we stand, divided we fall. Most battles can only be won in life when people stand together.
14) Last but not the least, one child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education first.
I still urge you to reflect upon these lessons, listen to the full speech by Malala or read the transcript at the Web site of the nonprofit group A World at School, and share it with others, particularly children, to help convey just how big one heart can grow and how much impact one person can have.