Young activist Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 18th birthday in a positive way–by officially opening an all-girl school for Syrian refugees!
According to Look to the Stars, the Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School was opened on Sunday, July 12. During the ceremony to honor Malala’s efforts, she said, “I am honored to mark my 18th birthday with the brave and inspiring girls of Syria. I am here on behalf of the 28 million children who are kept from the classroom because of armed conflict. Their courage and dedication to continue their schooling in difficult conditions inspires people around the world and it is our duty to stand by them.”
The new school serve over 200 Syrian girls living in refugee camps in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley. It will offer education and skills training to girl refugees aged 14 to 18.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was very excited about the school opening. “We are really heartened by Malala’s ardent support for the education of refugee girls whose aspirations have already been so cruelly cut short by war,” he said. “These children are the future of Syria; we must not jeopardize that by denying them the basic right to education while they are in exile.”
Malala has been active in campaigning for girls’ rights and education, which led to her brutal attack in her native country Pakistan back in 2012. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her continued efforts to fight for better education in other countries. She boldly stated at the ceremony that world leaders were not doing the best for Syria’s children. “On this day, I have a message for the leaders of this country, this region and the world: ‘you are failing the Syrian people, especially Syria’s children’. This is a heart-breaking tragedy — the world’s worst refugee crisis in decades.”
I truly applaud Malala for standing and fighting for what she believes. At only 18, she has had incredible impact, and continues to make a difference. I know this school will be great for the girls who attend!
Image via HUMAN for the Malala Fund/M. Fezehai