Malala Yousafzaisaid Inspires Young Girls in Africa

Malala Yousafzai, joins her peers in Kenyan classroom for a day of learning (1)_Photo courtesy of Tanya MalottOn her first trip to Africa, education activist and Malala Fund co-founder Malala Yousafzaisaid said she was inspired by the dreams and determination of the schoolgirls she met while learning about the many challenges they have overcome to obtain an education.  The 16-year-old spent several days speaking with girls from rural Kenyan communities about their passionate desire to go to school and the many obstacles they encounter, including discrimination, poverty, child labor and early marriage.  “I came to Africa to raise awareness about the 58 million children not in primary school who face numerous barriers to education,” Malala said. “I was particularly inspired to meet young girls in Kenya who are so passionate about getting an education, building their future and the future of their country.”

On her visit, Malala also took up a shovel, mixed cement and laid bricks to help build Free The Children’s Oleleshwa All-Girls’ Secondary School, in rural South Narok, where the majority of girls do not attend high school.  The Malala Fund also financially contributed to the building of Oleleshwa All-Girls’ Secondary School, its first gift to Africa.  “We feel honoured to have laid the foundation of the first school that the Malala Fund is building in Africa with Free the Children,” said Shiza Shahid, Malala’s father.   “This is the beginning of a deep commitment to Africa, and a testament to our belief that educating the children of the world holds the key to spurring progress and countering violence.”

While in Kenya, Malala spoke to a community gathering about the importance of educating girls and preventing early childhood marriage. When she finished speaking, the local children, in traditional Maasai dress, leapt to their feet and chanted “Malala” over and over. Finally, the community presented her with a goat, a sign of great respect in Maasai culture, in honor of her fight for girls’ education.

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