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Girls & Women

Malala’s ‘Girl Power Trip’ Includes Meeting School Girls in Nigeria, Condemning Boko Haram

AP Photo/Jossy Ola

Malala Yousafzai is on a "girl power trip." 

The 20-year-old Nobel Prize laureate made an empowering stop in Nigeria on Monday when she met with with more 100 displaced Chibok girls who were freed from capture by Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram in May and currently reside in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

“This is part of my girl power trip, visiting many parts of the world,” Yousafzai said. “I am here now because of the Nigerian girls. Fighting for them and speaking up for them.”

Yousafzai spoke out on behalf of the nearly 300 Chibok girls abducted by Boko Haram, 100 of whom are still missing, by condemning the Islamic terrorist group for their crimes against humanity.  

“Boko Haram themselves should learn that in Islam, such things are unacceptable,” she said. “This is against humanity, this is against Islam.”

This is not the first time Malala has spoken up for the girls and women captured and forced into sex slavery, marriage, and suicide bombings by Boko Haram. 

In 2014, Malala visited and urged then-President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure the release and freedom of the Chibok girls. 

As Malala continues to be a voice for the world’s most vulnerable, she also continues her call for girls’ education. 

During her girl power trip, she also visited several of the 90 displacement camps around Maiduguri, a city in northeast Nigeria. This leg of her visit included the Bakassi camp, where many who have fled Boko Haram currently reside, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.    

At Bakassi, Malala praised the girls for continuing their education through conflict and war and met with other victims of Boko Haram’s violence, the Associated Press reports.  

"Boko Haram abducted me and wanted to marry me," Fatima Grema, 15, who showed Malala around the Bakassi, said. "I later managed to escape. I was not in school until I came to the camp here." 

Nigeria has the most children out of school anywhere in the world, according to UNICEF

In Nigeria, 3 million children are out of school. Another 10 million are displaced and lack access to full quality education, according to UNICEF. Sadly, it is also one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, a paradox that Yousafzai pointed out. 

“Nigeria is the richest country in Africa, but has more girls out of school than any country in the world,” Yousafzai said. “Studies are clear — educating girls grows economies, reduces conflict and improves public health. For these girls and for their country’s future, Nigeria’s leaders must immediately prioritize education.”

Fortunately, until then, Yousafzai’s message continues to inspire girls in Nigeria to seize every opportunity that an education can bring them. 

"Her story give us hope, that's why we too want to go to school and become something in life," Fatima Ali, 15, another girl at the Bakassi camp, told the Associated Press