Target: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari
Goal: Thank Pakistan for funding the education of the nation’s poorest children
In early October 2012, members of the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani girl, in the head. They were outraged by her activism regarding women’s rights and the right to an education. She survived the shooting and quickly became an international symbol for women’s rights and children’s rights. In the wake of her attack, and on the eve of what the United Nations declared a day of action in her name, Pakistan has decided to give an impressive sum of money to the families of the nation’s poorest children on the condition that those children attend school.
The program will be funded by through collaboration between Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the World Bank. It will entail three million of Pakistan’s poorest children going to school while their parents receive about $2 per month per child enrolled in school. The new program will work inside of a larger Pakistani social aid program, which gives impoverished families an extra $10 a month.
Though the money that the families will be receiving does not sound like much, it will undoubtedly go a long way towards helping keep children in school. They will not have to drop out at an early age to work and help their parents. They will not need to adopt the roles and responsibilities of adults when they are still merely children. They will be able to stay in school just a little longer, learn how to read, to write, perform arithmetic, and acquire other skills. The little bit of money that the families of these children will receive will prove to be invaluable; the lives and the futures of the children will be that much brighter because they are being encouraged to receive an education.
Malala Yousafzai’s dream was, and still is, for children to receive an education, regardless of who they are and where they come from. Applaud this new program as it helps Pakistan move one step closer to that goal.
Dear President Zardari,
Every day all around the world, children are forced to leave school at distressingly early ages. They need to work to help support their families. They receive only the most rudimentary of educations. Malala Yousafzai, the brave teenage girl in your country who was attacked by the Taliban, has made it her life’s work to make sure that every child has the right and ability to receive a good education. You could have reacted to her shooting in a number of ways, but you chose the best one—you established a program to help ensure that her dream is realized.
Your new program in Malala’s name, which aims to distribute a small sum of money to poor families with children in primary school, is extremely admirable. The money will surely go a long way to help those family’s financial situations and to keep children in school. These children are too young to work; they should be studying and having fun, building a strong foundation off of which they can build the rest of their lives, not slaving away at a backbreaking job. You have once again reinforced the notion that a well-educated nation is a strong nation.
The action you have taken is simple, and with the help you shall be receiving from the United Kingdom and the United Nations it is attainable. All children, regardless of how rich or poor they are, have the right to go to school. They have the right to learn to read and write, to learn math, to socialize with other children, and to have a happy, normal childhood. Thank you for not only acknowledging this, but also taking strides to make it a reality.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: JEKruger via flickr