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Taking A Stand...

Sapna and Malala… two teenage girls from India and Pakistan who both took a stand for what they believed in. Sapna said no to an early marriage while Malala refused to cow down to Taliban threats and struggled to gain an education, advocating that girls should have access to education.

How far would you go to make a stand for what you strongly believe in?

“I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school.
All I want is education. And I am afraid of no one. “ – Malala Yousafzai

When 14-year old Malala from Pakistan was shot by the Taliban for openly advocating education for girls, the world was shocked and in uproar at the barbaric attempt to silence her for fighting for girls’ rights to education.

Living at Swat Valley where the Taliban has at times banned girls from attending school, Malala took to blogging under a pseudonym to tell the world of the plight of girls in her valley and Taliban’s attempt to take control. She gained media coverage and accepted interviews from local and international press. She has since then been nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu and won Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize.

Malala’s advocacy almost caused her her life. Though she has started standing up with assistance, she is still unable to talk and only communicates by writing. She continues to slowly recover in a British hospital but she is not over the woods yet..She is still critically ill and her life is still in danger from the Taliban who vowed to try killing her again.

Extremists continue in their attempt to smear Malala’s name claiming she works for and is in connivance with the United States. She knew she could be paying a great price for what she is standing up for but she never looked back. She is fighting for what she believes in and her action has only strengthened the resolve of many that girls have a right to an education as anyone else and should not be deprived of it.

“I’ll tell my neighbors that child marriage is against the law
and they should educate their children.” – Sapna

In Sapna’s village, teenage girls were expected to be married by the age of eighteen. But Sapna had other plans. She wanted an education. She wanted to work and earn a living…then get married. So when she heard her parents talking about getting her married off, she drummed up enough courage to tell her parents and grandfather who raised her, that she wanted to study first and not get married. Sapna’s lucky. She has a supportive family. They listened. They understood. They supported her decision. Now her village is abuzz. Now other parents would tell her parents and grandfather whenever they would meet them at the village that they too would not get their daughters married before they are eighteen.

One little girl’s dream to have an education. One little girl who bravely took a stand for what she wanted and believed in, and helped change the outlook of elders in her community. Now they too would want their daughters to go to school and have an education. They too would not want to marry off their daughters before they’re eighteen.

Two teenage girls Sapna and Malala, who both took a stand to be educated. Now they are making a difference in shaping the future of girls in their country…

Videos:

Malala: http://youtu.be/25wW4hwk8Gk
Sapna: http://youtu.be/2qhbdGxDrxI

This story was written for World Pulse’s Ending Violence Against Women Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring an end to gender-based violence. The EVAW Campaign elicits powerful content from women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as vocal grassroots leaders, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »

Comments

Amei's picture

Examples to learn from

These are two very inspiring girls. I am glad your shared this post here. Their call for education must be listened to by all mothers. I refer mothers as they need to stand to educate themselves and their children. It is a strong message to all.

We must learn to take a stand in what good we believe in. These are two girls we have to be proud.

In friendship.
Amei

Osai's picture

Beautiful

It just tells us that we have to be courageous and stand for what we believe in.
Thanks for sharing.
Best wishes,
Osai

Twitter: @livingtruely

Lylinaguas's picture

Thank You

Thank you for your comments Amei and Osai. One can't help getting emotional about these things. All these young girls want is an education, something that they rightfully deserve.

Lylin

irmia's picture

Encouraging story

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. The story of these two brave young girls is encouraging.
However, I guess Philippines has different situation. But what about the girls who live in remote areas in Philippines?
I would love to hear the story.

Mia

Lylinaguas's picture

Thank you

Mia, even in the Philippines there is gender inequality but not as extreme as in Pakistan or Afghanistan. There stories of remote areas where girls from 13 -18 marry and have kids but not because their parents arrange their early marriage. The lack of schools in remote areas have contributed to early pregnancies and marriages. But if they were made accessible to these kids, their families would want them to have an education first. I will write about it soon. I just have some health problems right now and can't focus on my blogging.

Thank you for your comment:)

Lylin

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