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Francesca's Focus: I Am Malala

**Trying to keep this post non-political is going to be tough, so please forgive me if I slip up**

As long as you haven't been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you would have heard the story about the girl who was shot in the head at close range, after being targeted by the Taliban for being an advocate for girls' education. After being left in critical condition, Malala Yousafzai was first taken to Peshawar for initial surgery for her swelling brain and then to Birmingham to receive further care. Today she is doing well and continues to speak about the importance of education.

Malala Yousafzai is filed under the category of People I Wish I Could Befriend along with Anne Frank and Mindy Kaling. Before, during, and after reading her book, I am completely blown away by her wit, unwavering intelligence, and incredible drive to speak out about what she believes in.

The Washington Post had a fantastic article about this book back in October of 2013 that I'm going to link in this post because it's beyond interesting and incredibly eye-opening.
Capture them in that fleeting window between the ages of 10 and 14, give them an education, and watch a community change: Per capita income goes up, infant mortality goes down, the rate of economic growth increases, the rate of HIV/AIDS infection falls. Child marriage becomes less common, as does child labor. Educated mothers tend to educate their children. They tend to be more frugal with family money.
Marie Arana then goes on to review the book in an incredible manner. She misses no details and I highly recommend not only reading the book, but this review for it as well.

I could review this book or try to put into words how touching and heartbreaking many of Malala's accounts were, but I fear that it would be too "preachy" and that I have no real authority to do so. I do, however, want to stress the importance of education for all, especially for young girl's. I cannot and will never be able to stress how valuable education. In America, so many people take education for granted. In a conversation with my mom and brother the other day, we were discussing public schools in our area and some have under 20% graduation rate. Yet there are countries where a group of people (see: women) aren't even allowed to be educated despite their yearning for education.

Malala blogged for BBC under a penname about life under the threats of the Taliban to ban her an education. As her public platform grew, she continued to speak out about the right of all women, including herself, to an education. Malala was constantly interviewed and speaking to reporters and in public about her fight for education. She now lives in Birmingham, England after her attack, but is still a strong advocate for the equality of education, despite the Taliban's threats even today.

It is strange and refreshing to see somebody so young fight so hard for something that she whole-heartedly believes in. Malala is a beautiful person, inside and out, and I wish I could tell her personally how truly inspiring she is. I hope that some day every single person has the luxury of an education, no matter their gender.

* If you are interested in supporting Malala's efforts to achieve equal education for girls and boys, you can donate to The Malala Fund here.*

**If you'd like to read more about The Malala Fund and Malala herself, you can do so here**


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