Tag Archives: school

Malala

Today, Malala Yousafzai’s struggle for girls to be educated in Pakistan, which led to her being shot and nearly killed by the Taliban two years ago, led to her jointly winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Her relentless campaign for girls and women’s rights was recognized a day before the International Day of the Girl Child and is an incredible strong signal to the world. Education is and remains key to change. 

On my travels in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I’ve met many young brave girls like Malala that, despite the constant threat, defy tribal traditions and seek to be educated. For us in the West, it’s impossible to understand that going to school could mean you get killed by extremists. Yet thousands of girls get up every morning and  go to school to become doctors, midwifes, teachers, engineers, etc…

The images below are of Afghanistan, were the educational system was almost completely destroyed by the Taliban.

Afghanistan

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

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taxidermy

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

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Girl Power

Today is Malala Day, in honor of the young and outspoken schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai who addressed the UN  and celebrating her 16th birthday today.

Shot on the left side of her head on October 9th on her way home from school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, the Taliban and extremists tried to silence her since she became a brave activist for girls education. More than 800 schools in the region have been attacked since 2009, according to government education authorities.

In her speech, she talked about the vicious attack.  “They thought that the bullets would silence us,but they failed.” she said.

‘And then, out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born. I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. My dreams are the same.’

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

“Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.” …

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

In both Pakistan and Afghanistan I’ve seen different sort of schools and even though for most of them the standard is nowhere near ours in the West, it’s always been great to see the young children in schools, especially girls, so eager to learn and get educated.

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

© Wendy Marijnissen

All the problems I’ve come across, weather it’s maternal health issues like fistula and maternal mortality, poverty, gender discrimination and sexual violence are all linked and would decrease dramatically if education levels would rise. So let’s support Malalai in her fight and help raise our voices for more education for both girls and boys all around the world.

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Girl power

© Wendy Marijnissen

Meet 3 of the wonderful girls I met today at the Afghan Mobile Mini circus school.

All day I was surrounded by juggling, dance and song, laughter and play and it reminded me so much of the wonderful time I spent with the Palestinian circus school a few summers ago in the West Bank.

Talking to David, one of the founders of the school, I asked him why circus and why here in Afghanistan?  His answer was that there couldn’t have been anything else he could do here. He knew the country a little already and wanted to do contribute in some kind of way. Even more important then food, he thought making children laugh was the first and most important thing to do.  Make them smile, let them sing, play with them, so that the little food they have will taste better, the songs they hear will sound sweeter and their general outlook on life will be more happy.

 

© Wendy Marijnissen

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