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Girls & Women

Malala Has a Few Words for Donald Trump on the Refugee Crisis

Flickr: Junaidrao

Malala Yousafzai is a fierce champion for girls and education, and at only 19, she is already a global champion for bettering the world. 

Even before she was brutally attacked and shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, at the age of 15, she had been an outspoken advocate about the power of educating girls and women.

Read More: 'Fearless' Malala Is Now an Honorary Canadian Citizen

Never one to hold back her thoughts, she recently condemned President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees and travel for individuals from Muslim-majority countries. 

And in a new interview with Broadly conducted at the United Nations in New York, Yousafzai took on US politics again. Yousafzai was asked her thoughts on gender equality, education, and what she would do if she met Trump in person. Here’s what she had to say.

Malala 2015.jpgGlobal Citizen

On Syrian Refugees: 

“Imagine for a second that you become homeless and no one cares about you, everyone blames you for being a terrorist, and they close their doors. This is exactly what Syrian refugees and refugees in the rest of the world are going through today.” 

On Gender Equality: 

 "I think men should be very proud to call themselves feminists, and they need to take part in it."

“My father didn’t clip my wings and he let me fly. He let me do what I wanted and I’m really proud of that, and I’ll always be thankful to him. But now it’s time more men get involved in this.” 

“To women I’d say that they must believe in themselves. Their role is crucial, especially right now. And women need to unite, they need to take action themselves.”

On US President Donald Trump’s Global Gag Rule Policy:

“I think there are a lot of policies about the new president that are a bit scary including the ban on majority Muslim countries and things related to abortion rights and other things. I think it’s important that women stand united, as they did in the Women’s March, when they stood up and raised their voice. I think we shouldn’t stop raising our voice.”

On Meeting US President Donald Trump: 

“If an opportunity comes to meet Donald Trump I would definitely meet with him.”

“When I go to such meetings I just imagine it’s not me, it’s the hundreds, thousands, of girls in refugees camp who are speaking out.” 

“The most important thing for the president is to understand what life is like when you’re a refugee when you’re living in these camps. I think he should go and visit these refugees camps and and see the real-life situations — when you don’t have any hope, when you don’t have the opportunity to get education, when you don’t have access to healthcare, or a luxury life — that is the real life of refugee people. Once you see that then you will realize why these people need a safer better area to live in.” 

On the War in Syria: 

“They have the same dreams as us, they want to become doctors, teachers, engineers. You meet their parents, who had also been teachers and engineers, and they are people just like us.” 

“I would say welcome refugees. You need to welcome them, support them. If people ignore them, we will all lose.” 

“I think the US can play a big role in bringing peace, if the US decides to. It’s important they have an investment in education especially.” 

On How to Help Others: 

“We should not have divisions, we should consider each one of us brothers and sisters, and try to help each other. Helping one community will help the world and bring better lives to all of us. We should not be fully dependent on the US too, all the other countries must stand together and unite for investing in regions which support is need for deprived people and communities.”  

On The Power of Education:

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”

“Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow." Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”