My daughters and I are planning a very special party at my house. We’ve invited our neighbors over for a movie, popcorn, laughter…and even some tears, inspiration, and global activism!
On Monday, February 29, the National Geographic channel will show the commercial-free U.S. television premiere of He Named Me Malala at 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT. He Named Me Malala is Davis Guggenheim’s acclaimed film that tells the story of the world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai.
This is such a perfect chance for us World Moms in the U.S. to gather together families and children in our communities for a night of awareness and action! We can learn about what education for means for girls in Pakistan and be inspired by an extraordinary young leader just in time to push our government for increased global education funding.
My girls, 10 and 12 years old, are fledgling activists for global education. Together, we have read the young reader’s edition of Malala’s autobiography, “I am Malala,” and thoroughly enjoyed it. Her voice as an activist who started speaking out against the Taliban at age 11 reaches my kids in a way they can completely relate to even though they have never visited Malala’s native Pakistan. The book was thought provoking and funny, yet nothing really compares to seeing and hearing the words of a young person coming from her own mouth.
We have invited friends to come see the movie with us – friends who have lived in the U.S. their whole lives as well as those who have moved here from India, Pakistan, and China. I asked some of our guests to share with us their personal experiences of what they have seen in their home countries when girls were not allowed to participate in classes due to gender bias or poverty.
In Malala’s acceptance speech for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, she said, “I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is the story of many girls.”
Each of these stories is important to lift up and share.
I hope that we can come to a greater understanding of each other’s perspectives. The stories of why some of our friends have moved here are deeply rooted in a desire for education, opportunity, and equality. Our goal is to learn from Malala and each other, then write letters to our elected senators and representatives with these stories and ask for the U.S. to include $125 million for the Global Partnership for Education to cost-effectively support access to quality education for all children.
Our American leaders in power need to hear what the people they represent have gone through. Immigration stories are beautiful and part of the fabric of our local communities. They connect us to our global community and help us to understand our role in helping to promote gender equality, education, and health worldwide.
If you are living in the U.S., I encourage you to gather some friends and watch He Named Me Malala together. If you are out of the country, you may be able to purchase it on DVD to create your own watch party or read the Young Reader’s edition of “I Am Malala” as a book group with your kids. Read or watch, be inspired, and then share with us your ideas for helping all children achieve their dreams of education!
Will you be watching?
This is an original post written for World Moms Blog by Anti-Poverty Mom Cindy Levin.