Students in the Classroom

Below are the thoughts and experiences that students have shared after reading I Am Malala in their classrooms, participating in activities, and using the Resource Guide.

 

I believe I am Malala is the book of my generation.

 


 

The story of Malala is immensely inspiring and I was overjoyed to be able to attend the talk given by her father a couple weeks ago. I was impressed not only with Malala’s father but with the entire panel of speakers who gave great insight into the challenges and possible solutions the world still faces with education. Catherine Russell, the ambassador at large for women’s issues, particularly fascinated me not only because of her impressive position but also because of her proposed solutions for addressing some of the holistic issues plaguing societies that effect girl’s education.

 


 

Ending class with the discussion of I Am Malala set an upbeat and hopeful balance to many of the other disheartening topics we have covered this semester. Malala and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai’s stories portray a remarkable sense of devotion, passion, and confidence that are inspiring concepts to keep in mind when navigating the often murky development world. From Mr. Yousafzai’s dedication to creating the opportunity for free-minded education despite numerous obstacles, to Malala’s incredible courage to continue her advocacy work after death threats and even after being shot by the Taliban, the impact of this book is staggering. Two of the most influential takeaways from the Yousafzai’s stories for me were how humble Malala and her father are about their work and how significant the impact is of the culture in which one grows up. From reading Malala’s memoir and from hearing Mr. Yousafzai speak at the launch of I Am Malala: A Resource Guide for Educators, the positive yet realistic outlooks of Malala and her father are inspiring. Mr. Yousafzai’s philosophy on gender equality and Malala’s resulting empowerment proves that the values and cultural norms instilled in people and the support (or lack thereof) that people receive are incredibly influential.

 


 

Malala’s persistence to get the education she deserved is worthy of discussion. I am Malala is one of the best books I have read in the past year and I am so glad I was able to see her father Ziauddin Yousafzai speak. Malala is an incredible example of a strong woman whose sense of justice and equality have inspired many other young women and girls to pursue their education as they should. After reading I am Malala, it was evident to me that Ziauddin serves as a huge role model to Malala and that having such a strong parental character has helped her to stay so strong throughout the worst. Ziauddin was a remarkable speaker and while he had many powerful lines, one of my personal favorites was: 'we must be true to ourselves, to our history, and to our future generations… education is the way to fight social evils.'

 


 

Malala is a fantastic example of individual strength and continues to provide a strong message on the importance of education. However, she is also an example of the ways in which stories of positive change, especially those belonging to female bodied individuals, are to this day exceptionalized in the public narrative rather than contextualized and examined. That being said, I am awed and inspired by the resource guide as a remedy for this very oversight. Beyond this, it speaks to the fact that, slowly, the voices and initiatives of women, and interestingly young people, are increasingly valued. Even Malala’s own career with the BBC during Taliban occupation illustrates this fact, and the ability of the international community to provide continuous support for her body, thoughts and actions after her attack highlights further this gradual, but steady, change. This is also true of her many awards. Though the true value of such prizes is debatable, that there is social space for a young woman to receive the Nobel peace prize and that there exists an International Children’s Peace Prize both speak to the integration of young female voices into the international narrative on development.