July 12, 2013 is the 16th birthday of Malala Yousafzai, the courageous advocate for universal education and girls’ rights. Malala will be marking the day with a “Super Sweet 16” of epic proportions as she takes the floor of the United Nations in New York to give her first public speech since being shot in the head on her way to school by the Taliban less than a year ago. Her profound purpose: to deliver a set of education demands written by youth, for youth, to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
In support of her ongoing crusade to fight for the 57 million children around the world who don’t currently have access to education and the millions more who aren’t learning in school, Malala will be joined at the UN Headquarters in New York by hundreds of students from more than 80 countries in a unique Youth Assembly. They will gather to issue a global call for quality education for every girl and boy in the world.
Other international youth leaders will also convene in cities around the world in support of Malala Day to help reach the goal of having all children, especially girls, in school and learning by 2015.
While we can’t stand on the UN floor next to Malala tomorrow, we can all stand with her. We have signed her petition to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to show our demand for emergency action in support of Malala’s education fight and we encourage all WYSK readers to do the same. It’s the greatest birthday gift this extraordinary 16 year old can receive.
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,
I stand with Malala in demanding that the leaders of the world end our global Education Emergency. After the recent violent murder of 14 girls in Pakistan who simply wanted an education, I support the civil rights struggle of 57 million girls and boys who will not go to school today – or any day. Side by side with Malala, we demand that at the United Nations General Assembly, world leaders agree to fund the new teachers, schools and books we need – and to end child labour, child marriage and child trafficking – so that by December 2015 we meet the Millennium Development goal promise that every boy and girl be at school.
We must be united in this fight, and we must act now. Thank you for standing with us.