Just a few days after Gordon Brown, UN special envoy on education, had launched the “I am Malala” website, news came through that 17 year old Hinna Khan from Swat, Pakistan (the hometown of Malala) had been threatened by the Taliban with murder for her fight for the right to education.
The brave actions of Malala and Hinna Khan and many other girls, show not only how important education is to young people, but also how desperate they are for education. Gordon Brown noticed this as well during a visit to South Sudan. “What I saw on the other side of the [school’s only] portal was scores of children looking through it, pushing against each other trying to peer inside, as if looking from afar on the education they could never have. Lessons they were destined to be denied.” Gordon Brown stated after a visiting a school in the new country. Whereas in Europe, due to the crisis, new graduates are now often referred to as the lost generation, a lost generation is growing up in developing countries everyday, where children and especially girls, are denied education on a daily basis.
In 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals were adopted, the international community committed to ensuring primary education for all children, boys and girls alike, all over the world. It is unlikely that this goal will be met as education is still a dream, rather than reality for 61 million children around the world. The shooting of Malala has put the struggle those children face every day back at the top of the international agenda and the public debate. With the new website “I am Malala” and his call for international Malala day, Gordon Brown is trying to keep the spotlight on education and remind the international community of the pledge they made 12 years ago.
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