Target: Supporters of Malala Yousafzai, Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz
Goal: Bring global attention to the plight of a teenage girl shot for pursuing an education and help her family to relocate to a more hospitable living environment
In November 2012, three teenage girls were brutally shot by the Taliban in the Swat region of Pakistan simply for pursuing an education. One of the girls, the now world famous Malala Yousafzai, had an almost fatal head wound but has recovered in England and is now a global symbol for the struggle for women’s education. But the two other girls, perhaps because their wounds were more minor and they were not as outspoken as Malala, have been largely forgotten by the world.
Recently, an article was published by The New York Times discussing the plight of one of the forgotten girls, Kainat Riaz. In November 2012, journalist Seema Jilani went to Kainat’s home to meet the young girl. While Malala has relocated to Great Britain and Shazia Ramzan, one of the attacked trio, has moved away from the volatile region of Swat, Kainat Riaz remains behind in danger due to her family’s poverty. Despite threats on her life, Kainat has remained bravely steadfast in her desire to gain an education, studying at home and self-teaching/learning when she can’t leave the house out of fear for her life.
Weeks after Seema Jilani interviewed Kainat in her home, an explosion occurred next door that may have been a Taliban attempt on Kainat. While Seema Jilani has reached out desperately to everyone she knows in an effort to help Kainat, she said her requests land on deaf ears. While the world reacted so strongly to the injustice to Malala, it has ignored the plight of Kainat. This teenage girl has a passion for an education that most of us in the Western world take for granted. This teenager is willing to put her life in jeopardy because, to her, desire for knowledge is greater than her desire for safety. Support this forgotten young woman by signing the petition below to bring global attention to her struggle and the danger she faces daily, and donating to help relocate her to a safe location.
Dear Supporters of Kainat,
Human apathy in the modern world is vast. We are bombarded daily with images and statistics about human suffering around the globe. As a defense mechanism, apathy protects us from feeling too much pain too often. But in today’s world, apathy cripples action and nothing is challenged unless someone is willing to try to change it.
In November 2012, journalist Seema Jilani interviewed a brave young girl in Pakistan who was persecuted by the Taliban simply for pursuing an education and thus challenging the dated gender roles of extremist conservative Islam. Kainat Riaz, along with Malala Yousafzai and Shazia Ramzan were shot while returning from school one day. Malala was almost fatally wounded in the head. She is currently rehabilitating in England where she has continued to be a spokeswoman for women’s education and rights. But while the world has focused on Malala’s brave recovery, the two other girls involved have been largely forgotten by the global community.
While Shazia and her family have moved away from the volatile Swat region where the attacks took place, Kainat’s family does not have the money to relocate. Weeks after her interview with Seema, there was an explosion next door to Kainat’s house. She has experienced several death threats and does not leave the house any longer. She hasn’t had the chance to go back to school so Kainat studies exclusively at home but some of her neighbors believe that she is only inviting peril in their community for her academic interests and condemn her for studying. Kainat and her family desperately need help to relocate from the danger they live in daily. Seema Jilani has been reaching out to try to help Kainat either move away from a place that at best stifles her ability to learn and at worst threatens her life.
Support for Kainat starts with global recognition. Share her story with your friends, family and anyone who will listen. In addition to sharing her story, Kainat’s family needs money to move away from the dangerous Swat region. If you want to help save Kainat’s life, please also donate.
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Photo Credit: Altaf Shaikh via Flickr