A girl’s fight for education
Transcript April 12
HELLO and welcome to WoW!, the positive podcast, showing kids that there’s a lot more to world news than bad news.
I’m Alastair. As a journalist, I spent years bringing people bad news from all over the world. Now I realise that if we’re really going to fix our problems, we need a bit of hope and inspiration too. And so I get together with my podcast buddy Clarisse to talk about what people are already doing to come up with solutions.
So if you want to cheer up a friend, do send them a link to this, WoW! News, the positive podcast and check out our website wow dash news dot eu.
Right now, a lot of you have been missing your friends and staying away from school because of corona virus. School’s really important, of course. But we all know we don’t always love going. So this week, we’re talking about why it matters – and about a girl who stood up to bullies who wanted to stop her going to school.
A – That was the voice of a girl called Malala. Have you heard of her? We’re going to talk about her, how she wouldn’t give up on her dream of learning – and how she helped lots of other kids get to school too.
Hi Clarisse. How are you?
C – Hi Alastair. I’m fine thanks.
A – So, Clarisse. Had you heard of Malala?
C – Hm. Well yes I knew her name. I knew that she came from Pakistan. And I knew that she became famous because she wanted to go to school.
A – That’s a pretty good summary, Clarisse. Thanks! I was a bit like you, I knew a bit about Malala. But I really learned a lot this week from a friend of ours.
C – Hmhm. Which friend was that?
A – Well, I was talking to our friend Virginie. Her job is to get kids excited about school. She’s been asking them lately what they miss most about going to school. A lot of people say they miss seeing their friends of course, because so many of us are staying at home to stop the corona virus. Some miss their teachers. And lots of people miss being able to learn new things in class. It’s not quite the same at home!
Anyway Virginie mentioned Malala to me and how this girl had inspired people all over the world with her fight to be allowed to go to school. It’s really fascinating and so we asked Virginie to write for WoW! News about Malala. You can read her article over on our website – wow dash news dot eu.
C – That sounds great, Alastair. So what did Malala do?
A – Well, to start, Malala was an ordinary girl, living in the north of Pakistan, in a very beautiful, green region in the mountains called Swat. Her dad was the headmaster of the local school and as soon as she was old enough Malala started going to classes. She loved learning and it turned out she was very good at it.
C – So she didn’t have a problem with school at all?
A – No that’s right. For the first few years, she had a lovely time at school with her friends. But when Malala was 10, things got tough. A group called the Taliban came along with guns and started telling people in Swat what they could and couldn’t do. They’re basically a bunch of bullies who say that boys get to boss girls about and that girls can’t go to school.
C – Why do they say that?
A – Well the Taliban say that God tells them to be mean to girls. Most people in Swat could see that that’s rubbish. But they had guns and people were scared of them. At least most people were, but not so much Malala.
C – Malala wasn’t frightened of the Taliban?
A – Well, of course she was a bit frightened. But she refused to stop going to school or to stop studying. One day, the television came to her school. And when Malala started explaining to the journalists why she wanted so much to go to school, she realized that she wasn’t just talking about herself, she was speaking for all the girls she knew – and for millions of girls she didn’t know. Just thinking about how she could help all those other girls, made her feel really strong. And so she carried on talking. People listened. She wrote a diary about going to school in Swat that was read all over the world. She became quite famous. This is all about 10 years ago.
C – That’s fantastic. So Malala became the voice of girls!
A – Yes, she spoke for millions. And of course the Taliban didn’t like that…
C – Ah they were still there?
A – Yup, the bullies were still there and they were out to get Malala. One day, a man with a gun got on to her school bus and shot her in the head.
C – Oh my goodness! But, I thought Malala was still alive today?
A – Yes she is Clarisse. Very alive! It was a bit of a miracle. The bullet went into her head. But doctors in Pakistan managed to keep her alive and then she was flown to England for special care and she made a full recovery.
C – That must have been terrible for her. Surely she must have been scared?
A – Well, Malala says that being shot actually helped her stop being afraid. It also made her even more world famous. That’s a bit like having a loudspeaker for her voice. She now has an organization which helps push countries all over the world to make sure that all children, and especially girls, get to go to school.
C – Because that is a fundamental right, isn’t it, Alastair? Every child must be able to go to school and learn, everywhere in the world.
A – Yes, that’s right, Clarisse. If you go to our website – wow dash news dot eu – you can see we’ve written before about the rights of children. Those rights are agreed by the United Nations, which is the organization that all the countries in the world belong to – even if they don’t all always do what they’re supposed to.
C – And Malala works for the United Nations?
A – Hm. Not exactly. But she has become an important voice. Just nine months after she was shot, the United Nations invited Malala to speak to the world at its headquarters, which are in New York. It was Malala’s 16th birthday and she made an amazing speech. You heard her at the beginning of our podcast. She told the Taliban that she didn’t hate them and that with their pens and their teachers children had a weapon much better than guns. And that they would change the world.
C – Wow, that’s a wonderful idea. And so Malala is changing the world?
A – Well, I think you could say that Malala has already changed the world by using her voice to make people realise how important it is that children, and especially girls, go to school. There are lots of studies that show that the more that countries make sure that girls get a good education, the healthier and richer those countries can become. It’s a bit complicated. But it’s a really important lesson. And so speaking up for girls to go to school is one really important solution to the problems there are in the world of people being poor and hungry.
C – And what does Malala do today?
A – Well campaigning and speaking out are still very important to her. But right now she’s studying. In fact she’s studying for her final exams at my old university. And in the same subject. So if she’s like me, just a few … well, quite a few … years ago, she’ll be reading and writing notes and revising like made for her exams in politics and economics.
C – Really, Alastair. And how many years ago was that?
A – Well, I think we’ve said quite enough on that subject, Clarisse!
C – OK, Alastair. It’s been great to hear about Malala.
A – Yes, Clarisse. If you want to know more, do read the article at wow dash news dot eu. And I’ll see you next week for another WoW! News podcast! Bye!
C – Goodbye!
A – And I hope you’ve all enjoyed listening to Malala’s story too. If you’re looking for some tips on how to keep going with school work and how to get along with your family while we’re all stuck indoors, take a look at the WoW! News website – wow dash news dot eu. You’ll find expert advice from astronauts, round-the-world sailors and other adventurers on how to make the most of being confined.
Thank you for listening – and thank you for spreading the word about the wow! news podcast. More and more of you have been tuning in in the past few weeks. We’re really grateful. Here at WoW!, we want to make sure everyone knows about the good things that are happening in the world, even when times are tough. Our problems have solutions. Cheer up a friend – tell them about WoW!
That’s it from me. I’m Alastair. I’ve been talking with Clarisse. We’ll be back on Wednesday with more from WoW!, the positive podcast. Until then, stay at home, stay safe and keep… positive!