I Am Malala
Education is very important to me.
I think this is partially the case because my mother wanted it to be important to me. Neither my mother nor my father attended college, but that did not stop my mom from spending tireless hours with me as a young child focused on learning. Every evening she would quiz me on my spelling words, assist me on class projects, support my speech therapy goals with flashcards so that I no longer said my "r's" and "s's" incorrectly, and she would also cry alongside me as I struggled through the hours it took for me to complete and comprehend the math problems I'd been assigned. Remembering specific facts has always been difficult for me, so she developed "workarounds" to help with my recall. I still remember the majority of my state capitals because of the silly things she would come up with (e.g., Mom: "Aunt Joy-sie sounds like Boise, and Joy-sie likes to eat potatoes." Me: "Boise, Idaho!"). Somehow that worked.
I am very lucky to have had her, but obviously there are thousands of mothers and fathers in our country who lack the resources and skills to provide for their own children in the way that she was able to provide for me. There are organizations that work towards enhancing the capacities of these parents, and I greatly wish for their expansion. I believe so strongly that high-quality education is an equalizer and can end the seemingly never-ending familial cycles of poverty. It is so vitally important for the overall welfare of our nation to educate children and to educate them early.
Our nation's issues surrounding education are minute compared to that of others. Have you read I Am Malala? Malala was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Price on December 10th, 2014. Malala accepted the prize on behalf of the world's children and continues to work for educational rights of all children. Upon further investigation, I learned that the poorest girls in the world get an average of only 3 years of education, yet with only one extra year of education they can earn 20% more as an adult. I learned that child marriage, harassment, and violence are key reasons that girls drop out of school early. I learned that educated girls invest 90% of their income back in their family (compared to 30% by men), and a child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5 and two times as likely to go to school. I learned that less than 20 percent of girls in developing countries complete lower secondary school (8th or 9th grade) yet girls with 8 years of education are four times less likely to be married as a child.
If you are interested, I would encourage you to visit malala.org and sighn up to stand #withMalala. You could also check out the National Bestseller:
I just purchased the young-adult version as a gift for the 6th grade girl that I mentor:
I've spent my morning binge-watching and reading everything Malala-related, including her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and the trailer for the He Named Me Malala Documentary (playing in select theatres now). After reading the book, it was difficult to keep a dry eye as I watched the pride in her father's eyes as she spoke to accept the Nobel Peace Prize.
I'll end with a quote from the October 2013 Washington Post Book Review by Marie Arana: