Malala's Mission: 12 Years of Free Education

I'm sure that by now, you know Malala Yousafzai. Malala is just 18 years old, but her impact on the world began when she was 11–12 years old. At the time, Malala wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban occupation, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls in the Swat Valley. Then, on the afternoon of October 9, 2102, Taliban members boarded her school bus, asked for her by name, and shot her point blank. Three times. Once to the left side of her head.

The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Malala, as she continued to speak on behalf of children's education worldwide. Malala was even awarded the Nobel Piece Prize for helping protect children and advance their education, and Time Magazine featured her as "The 100 Most Influential People".

Even now, three years after the attack, "Malala wants world leaders to spend more money, on top of their earlier promises, to secure 12 years of free primary and secondary education for all children across the world." Malala "will continue her fight for children's right to education and ask world leaders to invest an additional $39 billion annually."

"We will not stop. We will continue to speak out and raise our voices until we see every child in school," she said ahead of an education summit in Oslo, Norway, attended by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, among others.

"An estimated 58 million children aren't going to school. While aid for basic education had doubled from 2002 to 2009, it has since stagnated and fallen in recent years, according to a summit paper. Even though many countries have increased their national budget allocations, progress in getting more children to school has stalled.

Universal fee-free primary and secondary education for a 12-year period costs an estimated US$340 billion per year through 2030, according to the Malala Fund, the nonprofit organization she co-founded. Low- and lower-middle-income countries must commit a minimum of 20 percent of their national budgets to education, against the current average of 15 percent.

Governments must 'start investing in books, education and hope, rather than in weapons, war and conflicts,' Malala said, reiterating that some 100 countries in May committed themselves to provide free primary and secondary education to all children by 2030.

"He Named Me Malala"

I pledged to see "He Named Me Malala", a documentary film about the life, family and personal journey of education activist & Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. The film will be a powerful way to share the importance of girls’ secondary education - and the determination of girls globally - with millions of people.

Watch the trailer and pledge to see the film, only in theaters October 2015.

Source: Time, Huffington Post, The Malala Fund

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In America, & throughout the world, women are drastically underrepresented in STEAM fields, as well as in positions of power & influence.  We must do our part to begin to narrow the gap!  #WomenInSTEAM is dedicated to celebrating the women who are making their mark in the world... standing tall in a crowd of men & innovating in ways that energize us all.  Ladies, let's inspire the next generation of girls!  Lets show them that smart is beautiful, confidence is key, and independence is living! 

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