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Girls & Women

Malala Relaxes From the Stress of Freshman Year by Building a Girls’ School in Pakistan

From the campus of her recently-adopted home at Oxford University, Malala Yousafzai announced a collaboration between charities that will fund and construct a large girls’ school in Pakistan.

A $700,000 donation from the Nobel laureate’s Malala Fund and The Big Heart Foundation (TBHF) will fund the construction of a school large enough for 350 girls in Yousafzai’s home district of Swat Valley, according to an announcement made by representatives from both organizations.

“I overwhelmingly thank The Big Heart Foundation for believing in my dream of a world where girls can choose their own future path,” Malala said at the press event. “With their support, the Malala Fund can provide education for girls in my hometown, Swat Valley in Pakistan.”

Take Action: Hold the OECD & UNFCCC accountable in their agreement to address the impact of climate change on girls education.

The money will be used to construct 11 classrooms, laboratories, a library, and quarters for visiting teachers among other things. It will also partially cover the operational costs of running the school for the first two years.

This is not the first time the young activist has opened a school for vulnerable populations. On her 18th birthday Yousafzai decided to celebrate by opening up a school in Lebanon for Syrian refugee girls. Though she is only 20 years old, Yousafzai has been a tireless advocate for expanding education access to girls since she was a child.

Yousafzai was famously shot by the Taliban at the age of 15 for defiantly going to schools. Her assailants’ plan backfired, however, when Malala survived the attack and became more determined in her mission than ever. Since that incident in late 2012, Yousafzai has become a global icon for women’s rights and education advocacy, famous around the world for her inspirational story and unwavering commitment to activism.

Global Citizen campaigns on the UN’s Global Goals. Reducing gender inequality and increasing access to education are Global Goals number five and four respectively. You can join Yousafzai and Global Citizen by taking action on this issue here.

According to UNICEF, large educational gaps exist between girls and boys in Yousafzai’s home country of Pakistan. Youth literacy rates  are almost 20% higher for boys than girls, and similar discrepancies exist for levels of enrollment, participation, and completion of schooling.

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Around the world it’s estimated that some 130 million girls are prevented from getting an education due to poverty, lack of schooling opportunities, the presence of violent conflict, and more.

Read More: Malala Is Taking Action on Global Education — And You Can Too

Schools constructed for the purpose of enrolling these young women are a step in the right direction when it comes to providing educational opportunities to all people, regardless of gender or income.

Despite her enrollment as a full time student at one of the world’s most prestigious and rigorous universities, it seems Yousafzai is staying committed to students everywhere.