Young Taliban Victim Calls for Children's Education Rights

    24 July, 2013


    From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report.

    Malala Yousafzai spoke to hundreds of young people at the United Nations On Jule 12. It was her first public speech since last October when the schoolgirl was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan.

    The U.N. speech continued her campaign to educate children.

    "The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born."

    On the day she spoke, two groups announced that 57 million children around the world are not going to school. The two are "Save the Children" and UNESCO - The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.

    A little more than half of those who are not going to school are girls.

    In September of 2012, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a program to get every boy and girl into school by 2015.

    Malala Yousafzai believes the goal is possible.

    "Let's pick up our books and our pens, they are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world."

    Shiza Shahid is the executive director of a new program called the Malala Fund. She says the 16-year-old is a true spokes person and worrier for girls rights.

    The Malala Fund was created to support the voices calling for girls' education. The actress Angelina Jolie has donated $250,000 to the fund. A group called Women in the World donated $150,000.

    The first children served by the fund are 40 girls in Malala's hometown, in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. These girls aged 5 to 12 had been working.

    Shiza Shahid says the girls have stopped working and are going to school.

    Malala Yousafzai is now going to school in England, but she talks to the girls in Swat Valley by the computer software program Skype.

    Shiza Shahid is also from Pakistan. She says the organizers of the Malala Fund are deciding what steps they can take to really change a girls' life. She says girls everywhere can help.

    Girls are also urged to tell their own stories online at

    And that's the Education Report from Learning English, I'm Karen Leggett.