Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 31st 2014 Contents TAUREEF MOHAMMED
Children in T&T should be
thankful for the educational oppor-
tunities and must take full advan-
tage of them, says world-renowned
education activist Malala Yousafzai.
Addressing an audience of school-
children at the National Academy
for the Performing Arts, Port-of-
Spain, yesterday, the 17-year-old,
ranked in 2013 as one of the 100
most influential people in the world
by Time Magazine, said:
"In this country, you get quality
education that is free from the pri-
mary level up to the tertiary level
and even up to the post-graduate
level they also help you.
"You are really lucky that you have
free education and I tell you, this is
a great opportunity for you to focus
more on your education and to con-
The Pakistan-born teenager told
students--- who came from all levels:
Primary, secondary, and tertiary ---
about other children throughout the
world who would have given any-
thing to have similar opportunities.
She added: "Children here, I am
very happy that you give importance
to your schools and you are getting
quality education but it is important
that you know about other countries
"There are 10.5 million children
in Nigeria who are out of school.
There are five to seven million chil-
dren in Pakistan who are out of
school. That s about five or six times
your whole population.
"Because of child labour and child-
trafficking in India and Pakistan and
many other countries, children are
facing many, many problems.
"There are more than 57 million
children who are out of school and
who really need support. So what
you have got, you should be thankful
for it and you should focus on it,"
Highlighting one of her projects
in Jordan for Syrian children who are
refugees from the civil war, she said:
"They are amazing, amazing chil-
dren who have so many dreams ---
some of them want to become doc-
tors, engineers, teachers, journalists
--- but they have so many difficulties
in their lives.
"They don t get schooled. They
don t get the right books. They don t
have the well-qualified teachers. They
don t have schools and shelters. There
are so many difficulties that they are
She said her organisation, the
Malala Fund, was established to speak
up for those underprivileged children
and to provide opportunities for
Saying she was just an ordinary
girl, Malala said everybody had some-
thing special to offer to the world
and school was the place to find it.
"We are all special. I may not be
good at singing but I will be good at
painting. I may not be good as a doc-
tor but I will be good as an engineer.
When we go to school, we discover
the skills and talents we have," she
A student of Edgbaston High
School for Girls in Birmingham, UK,
Malala said she had already discov-
ered her calling, politics.
"I m really interested in politics. I
know some say it s a kind of bad
thing but politics is the way through
which you can help your country.
"When you become prime min-
ister you can bring great changes in
your law and constitution so I am
hopeful that someone will vote for
me," she said with her typical light
sense of humour. See Page A11
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Malala to T&T students:
WHO IS MALALA?
"Who is Malala?" That was the
question asked by a Taliban
member before he shot Malala
Yousafzai on a school bus on
October 9, 2012.
"I was a girl born in a family
that was not very rich,
economically, but was very rich
morally and ethically.
"I was born in this very nice
family where my mother and
father respected education and
they believed that a girl should be
allowed to go to school," Malala
said to an audience of
schoolchildren at the National
Academy for the Performing
Arts, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
In 2009, she began writing a
blog for the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC), under the
pseudonym Gul Makai, to
highlight the difficulties girls
faced in getting an education in
Together with 20 of her
friends, she formed the Malala
Education Foundation which
sought to promote education for
girls in Pakistan.
Her recognition made her a
target for the Taliban, leading to
that fateful moment in 2012.
Dressed in a pink headscarf
and traditional Pakistani clothes,
Malala condemned the Taliban
for their wrong interpretation of
She said: "In Islam it is said
that it is the duty of every
Muslim, man or woman, to get
knowledge and to get educated.
"The word Islam means peace.
It gives the message of harmony,
patience and tolerance but I think
they (Taliban) were not reading
the Qur'an or were not
understanding the real meaning
of the Qur'an.
"In Islam, women are respected
as equally as men and women
have equal rights."
Malala, who was nominated
twice for a Nobel Peace Prize,
addressed the United Nations on
July 12, 2013, her 16th birthday,
when she said: "One child, one
teacher, one book, one pen can
change the world."
Former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara looks on as Pakistani schoolgirl and education activist Malala
Yousafzai tries her hand with a cricket bat during a private meeting with him at a Port-of-Spain hotel on Monday
evening. Malala, an avid cricket fan, met Lara at her request. Yesterday she said: "I met an amazing person
yesterday (Monday) who I thought I would never meet in my life. I met Brian Lara."
Give thanks for your education
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