by: Dada Alice Mwemera, Youth Engagement Coordinator
A big congratulation goes out to the outstanding Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi on winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize! I have had the pleasure of reading up on the amazing work that both laureates have done and continue to do. The journey they have walked is incredible and truly sparks inspiration for other young people around the world.
Malala’s work in blogging for the BBC portrays so much courage and strength. Her blog, “Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl,” was originally published in Urdu and talks to the challenges of attending schools and growing up under Taliban rule in Pakistan’s Swat district. Many young women/men would not dare speak up in such harsh situations, risking their personal safety in an unstable country with so much turmoil. At such a young age of 17, her continued emphasis on the importance of education for children and women is outstanding. Her courage goes to show that if you truly believe in yourself, your voice will be heard. What a great message to others feeling oppressed and silenced.
Author and long-time activist Kailash Satyarthi is a wonderful example of a man driven to make a change no matter how long it takes! For over 30 years he has dedicated his life’s work to promote awareness and demand positive change for children’s rights, notably for labour rights. A child’s strength and resilience should always be treasured and nourished, not exploited and abused for monetary gain.
As a young person born and raised in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I am overjoyed and empowered at the success and work that has been done and will continue to be done by these amazing individuals. The Congo has long struggled with civil wars and is widely known as one of the world’s most unstable countries. I truly hope that the stories of Pakistani-born Malala and Indian-born Kailash will inspire others to realize their potential and unite for a change, no matter the age, gender or religious affiliation. More importantly, it is a privilege that more developed countries such as our own here in Canada can be educated on the struggles of others so that we may continue to develop and cherish the well-being of young lives across our nation.
On behalf of myself and the Society for Safe and Caring Schools, we once again extend warm congratulations to Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi. We are proud to see that the work we do here in promoting child and youth well-being in Alberta is also actively pursued in our global community.