“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
― Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
Week 13 of the year is dedicated to someone I admire. While there are many people that I admire, I’m choosing to focus this moment on Malala Yousafzai. While procrastinating on my conference presentation, I came across the documentary He Named Me Malala. In 2009, at 12 years old, she wrote a blog for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule. When the world took notice of yet another injustice that of this region, Malala rose in fame by giving interviews and becoming the face and the voice for women in the region would wanted education. In 2012 she was shot three times while on the bus to school. Even while in the hospital recovering, she continued to speak out for women, and continued to speak out for the importance of education. In 2014 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and continues to build, and sometimes rebuild, schools for women, refugees, and those in a war-torn region.
“I don’t want to be thought of as the “girl who was shot by the Taliban” but the “girl who fought for education.” This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.”
― Malala Yousafzai
I admire her courage and dedication. At 18 years old she has done more for the world than most people hope to do in a lifetime. She has faced death, doubters, and incredible adversary to continue to push for a cause that she believes in.
I only wish I could be half as courageous and make a fraction of a difference in the filed of education. When I had my chance to stand up for what I believed in two years ago, I caved, and let it break me. I had the chance to pursue the matter, and to let the university know what was going on in the programme, but instead, I chose to just bury it and get out of the United States as fast as I could. I’m still terrified that somehow that programme will catch up with me and it will hurt the work that I am doing in the UK (stupid I know, but I sometimes worry that the sins of my past will catch up to me).
And now that I have watched a young woman who did not let being shot in the face stop her from defending what she believes in, then I should not let a momentary blip in my educational journey stop me from pursing avenues that I think will improve the learning potential for students in higher education. The two things can hardly be compared, and I admire the way she treated it as nothing more than a reason to continue trying to make the world a better place for women.