Every 12 July is Malala Day. A day that recognises that there is still a huge amount to be done globally when it comes to girls and women’s education. Malala Yousafzai is an example of bravery, of that there is no doubt. She stood firm when confronted with aggression and violence but faced extreme violence as a consequence and had to leave her homeland. The fact remains that for many young women in many countries, including Pakistan, education is still not a right.
Every September is also the anniversary of the death of Linda Norgrove who worked in Afghanistan to help the country recover from years of conflict and was abducted by the Taliban before her tragic death in the course of a failed rescue attempt. Her death, led to the creation of the Linda Norgrove Foundation that gives grants to fund education, health and childcare for women and children affected by war in Afghanistan.
The Taliban is now in control of Afghanistan and opportunities and access to education and work for many young women has been severely curtailed. This has led to huge upheaval and instability for many, leading to a lack of opportunity and poverty. Luckily the Linda Norgrove Foundation is still active providing humanitarian aid, supporting students with living expenses and providing life changing medical equipment.
The importance of access to opportunity cannot be underestimated. Education for young people, especially young girls, inspires them to live thriving lives and provides them with the independence of thought to pursue their ambitions and ideas. Not enough though is being done to stop the limitation of these rights, and if we are to do one thing it is to support charities such as the Linda Norgrove Foundation and the Malala Fund to ensure that those who need access to education and opportunity are given that chance.