In May 2015, Malala Yousafzai worked with the Global Campaign for Education to draft the Incheon Declaration, seeking a commitment from world leaders to ensure that by 2030, ALL children can go to school for at least 12 years without having to pay school fees.
Earlier this summer, to celebrate her 18th birthday, the Nobel Laureate opened a school for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
And now, as part of her continuing mission to guarantee education for children around the world, particularly young women, Malala has launched the “Fund 12 Years of Education for Girls Around the World” petition, because “a commitment only counts if a commitment is kept.”
“Sometimes people ask me, why is it important for girls to go to school? I think the more important question to ask is, why shouldn’t girls have the right to go to school?”
The petition states:
My courageous friend, sixteen year-old Muzoon from Syria, goes from tent to tent in her refugee camp in Jordan encouraging girls to stay in school. My sister Amina from the North of Nigeria, where Boko Haram threatens girls for simply wanting to learn, mentors younger girls who continue to want to go to school.
There are over 60 million of our sisters around the world who share a thirst for education, yet do not have the opportunity to go to school or who have to drop out too soon. Together we can change that.
In September, world leaders will commit to 12 years of free, safe, quality primary and secondary education for every girl and every boy in the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This commitment holds tremendous promise for my sisters demanding more for their lives. But a commitment only counts if a commitment is kept. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) must lead the way in upholding this commitment, just as it has led way in supporting 9 years of education for millions of children to date.
The GPE is a major funder of education in some of the world’s poorest countries. It makes possible incredible work to help students all over the world, every day. When countries give money in foreign aid for education lots of it goes to the GPE, and in December its Board of Directors will determine how that money will be used by over 60 nations around the world.
But currently the GPE’s focus is on funding 9 years of free, quality education for girls in these countries. We are asking that the GPE Board vote to expand its focus to a full 12 years of primary and secondary education and that GPE partners step up and give more money so that girls are given the opportunity to complete secondary schooling. A change like this will have a dramatic effect on the lives of millions of girls around the world who will be able to go on to become the leaders, teachers, scientists that they want to be and that our world needs.
I am blessed everyday to wake up and know that I can receive a free, quality primary and secondary education, but I shouldn’t be the exception. Now is the time for us to join our voices and make a change for our sisters around the world.
Stand with us and ask the GPE and its partners to lead the way on 12 years of primary and secondary schooling for girls through committing to mobilise the money necessary to achieve it.
Stand with Malala to empower girls through education. Sign the petition here.