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Today is Malala Day in Pakistan, girls demand education


New Delhi, July 12: Today is 'Malala Day' in Pakistan, and it is unusual for a conservative country like Pakistan to celebrate a teenage girl's birthday. But Malala Yousafzai is no ordinary teenager.

She was felled by Taliban for advocating education for girl in tribal Pakistan. She survived and today Malala is speaking at the United Nations Youth conference in New York. The day's event are supported by the UN Secretary General's Global Education First Initiative. Malala turns 16 years today.

In Swat, some tribesmen have lionized Malala as a teenage heroine who stood up to the Taliban. Despite continuing threats, the girls' school that she attended, which was run by her father, is open and running at full strength.

The Global Education First Initiative calls for enrollment and learning of all children in schools, particularly girls by 2015.

In her country, Plan International Pakistan will be supporting young girls to convey their demands for right to education to government representatives.

In Lahore, 30 young school girls will be presenting a resolution to provincial minister for population welfare Punjab Zakia Shahnawaz on Friday, demanding that education be dealt with the highest priority.

Similar resolutions are being presented to the governments in Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakthunkhwa, Balochistan, , Gilgit Baltistan and the Islamabad Capital Territory.

According to the Education Report 2012, 23 percent of all school age children are out of school. Out of this 5 percent have dropped out while another 18 percent have never been enrolled in schools. For the 6 to 16 age bracket, the figures from this report indicate more girls are out of school than boys.

The Pakistani Taliban see schools as symbols of both Western decadence and government authority, but their attacks are also intended to deny the Pakistani military the possibility of establishing temporary bases in the buildings.

In Pakistan more than 800 schools have been attacked since 2009. The effforts to bring back children, especially the girls, has become mission all over the globe after Malala was shot last October.

The bullet hit Malala's left brow and miraculously, instead of penetrating her skull it travelled underneath the skin of the side of her head and lodged in her shoulder.

After emergency medical evacuation to Britain, where surgeons repaired her shattered skull, Malala has made a remarkable recovery. In March, she has enrolled for schooling in Britain.

She has been named one of TIME magazine's most influential people in 2013. Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala has reportedly secured a $3m book contract for her life story. Her book named "I am Malala" is due later this year.

In 2009 a documentary film was made about her. Many more honours followed: In 2011 she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by The KidsRights Foundation and in 2012 the government awarded her the National Peace Award - subsequently renamed the National Malala Peace Prize - for those under 18 years old.

When Malala speaks at UN today, she will stand there as a symbol of teenage bravery and educational activism.

OneIndia News

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