Malala urges G20 to boost funds for girls’ schooling

In this file photo, Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai gestures while talking during a session at the Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, eastern Switzerland on Jan. 25, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 March 2019

Malala urges G20 to boost funds for girls’ schooling

  • Malala became a global symbol for girls’ education
  • She is the youngest-ever person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014

TOKYO: Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai Friday urged Japan and its fellow Group of 20 nations to pledge new funding for educating girls at June’s G20 summit, hosted by the Japanese.
Speaking alongside Shinzo Abe, the celebrated Pakistani education activist told Japan’s Prime Minister about “the importance of investing in girls now for future economic growth and global stability.”
“As the chair of this year’s G20, I hope Prime Minister Abe in Japan will lead on girls’ education and encourage all leaders to commit to new funding to prepare girls for the future of work,” she told reporters.
“I hope he can use his G20 presidency to help my sisters in Japan, G20 countries and around the world to reach their full potential because the world works better when girls go to school.”
Malala became a global symbol for girls’ education and human rights after a gunman boarded her school bus in October 2012, asked “Who is Malala?” and shot her.
After medical treatment in the UK, she continued her vocal advocacy and became the youngest-ever person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.


Afghan father travels 12 km everyday to fulfil daughter’s dream

Updated 4 min 37 sec ago

Afghan father travels 12 km everyday to fulfil daughter’s dream

  • Mia Khan wants his daughter to be Sharan city’s first woman doctor
  • Along Pak-Afghan borderlands, powerful patriarchal norms still dictate most women’s lives

BANNU: Along the restive Pak-Afghan borderlands, a daily wage laborer travels 12 km on his motorcycle every day to fulfil his daughter’s ambitious dream.

Mia Khan, who lives in Sharan city in the southeastern Paktika Afghan province, parks his motorcycle outside his daughter’s school every morning and waits for classes to end, so they can make the long journey back home together.

Students attend a class at the Nooranya School in southeastern Paktika province of Afghanistan on Dec. 4, 2019. Mia Khan. (AN Photo)

“You know, we don’t have female doctors in our entire town. It is my ultimate wish to see my daughter, Rozai, as its first female doctor. I want her to serve humanity,” Khan told Arab News via telephone.

Paktika shares a 300 km border with Pakistan’s newly-merged tribal districts of North and South Waziristan and parts of Pakistan’s Balochistan province, where powerful patriarchal norms still dictate most women’s lives.

But Rozai, her father said proudly, has just been promoted to class 7 at Nooranya School, a community educational institution built by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan.

Mia Khan and his daughter Rozai pose for an undated photo inside the Nooranya School in southeastern Paktika province of Afghanistan. Khan travels 12 km daily on his motorcycle to take his daughter to school every day. (Photo courtesy: social media)

“My name is Rozai and I am the daughter of Mia Khan,” Rozai, who goes by her first name, told Arab News proudly.

“We come from too long a distance. And I demand a school be established close to our home. Yes, my father is a daily wage laborer. We become too tired after reaching our school and sometimes we get late,” she said.

Saif-ur-Rehman Shahab, a representative of the Swedish Committee, told Arab News that Khan, who has for years brought his children to school on a motorcycle, deserved all the appreciation he could get. He has two sons and seven daughters.

“Khan gets his children, specifically his daughter Rozai, educated in a very challenging situation. You know we have deteriorated security and poor awareness about girls’ education here. Khan is facing acute financial challenges working as a daily wage laborer. I deeply appreciate him for facing all these challenges boldly to educate his daughter,” Shahab said.

A view of the Nooranya School in southeastern Paktika province on Dec. 4, 2019. (AN Photo)

When contacted, Hikmat Safi, adviser to Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), told Arab News that Khan’s passion was an inspiration to others.

“Amid brewing insecurity coupled with cultural limitations, this is really a...positive change when people like Khan come out to educate their children, primarily daughters,” Safi said.

According to a statement by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, the Nooranya School has 220 girl students studying in the facility. The committee has established hundreds of community-based classes and schools in various areas of Paktika province where the majority of the students are girls.