What did you wish for your sixteenth birthday? Truthfully, I was hoping for roses from my boyfriend, a car from my family, and passing my drivers permit on the first attempt. Malala Yousafzai is asking the United Nations to help ensure that every child, especially girls have equal access to an education.
Malala isn’t your typical Pakistani girl. She is the youngest person to have been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, and she was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu. At fifteen years old, she suffered a gunshot wound to the head from Taliban extremists just for attending school. Today, on her sixteenth birthday she will address the United Nations General Assembly. The event now referred to as Malala Day, was organized by former British Prime Minster Gordon Brown. He is now heading the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education. He also helped to organize a petition which will be presented to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon by Malala. The petition, with the slogan “I am Malala” is to encourage the one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. The United Nations Gobal Education First Initiative prioritizes that every child goes to school, the quality of education in existing schools are improved, and children foster the concept of global citizenship.
You can help Malala celebrate by tweeting with the hashtags #educationfirst, #UNYouthTakeover and #MalalaDay. You can also share posts through Facebook, and birthday photos or videos through Vine and Instagram. Please visit www.aworldatschool.org to send Malala a birthday message. There are 57 million children who lack access to an education, the UN hopes to significantly reduce those numbers by 2015. No child should ever be denied access to an education, and no one should ever be afraid to go to school. Happy sweet sixteen Malala Yousafzai, we hope your birthday wish for equal access to education for all children comes true.