Target: Aaron Haroon Rashid, creator of Burka Avenger
Goal: Thanks for creating Pakistani cartoon promoting girls’ education.
In recent decades, superheroes have exploded into the forefront of pop culture. The success of movies such as Marvel’s Iron Man and Avengers franchises, as well as DC’s Dark Knight Trilogy and Man of Steel, are themselves evidence of this trend. It’s promising to see someone create a new character dedicated to addressing one of the world’s major real-life issues.
Created by Pakistani pop star Aaron Haroon Rashid, the Burka Avenger is a schoolteacher named Jiya who dons a ninja-like burka getup to protect her school from militants. She uses a unique martial art that allows her to use schoolbooks and pens as an arsenal. The Burka Avenger’s cartoon series will air in 60 countries around the world in 18 languages, and her message couldn’t be timelier.
In a report on Pakistan, UNESCO noted that “official statistics…give a desperate picture of education for all, especially for girls. Independent sources and educational experts, however, are skeptical. They place the overall literacy rate at 26 per cent and the rate for girls and women at 12 per cent.” The situation is worst in the northwest of the country, where Taliban militants are active in bombing schoolhouses. Malala Yousufazi, a schoolgirl who survived being shot by Taliban militants and has since become a global activist for girls’ education, has recently emerged as the international face of the issue.
The Burka Avenger addresses this issue in the way any good superhero should, by giving children a symbol of hope. The international attention this cartoon has received shows it has true value in inspiring kids to understand the value of education. By signing this petition, you will thank Haroon Rashid for his creation.
Dear Mr. Rashid,
I am writing to thank you for your work creating the Burka Avenger cartoon series. This new character, who has achieved renown not just in Pakistan but around the world even before the airing of her first episode, is important because of the real-life issue it addresses.
As you know, gender equity in education is a critical problem facing Pakistan today. UNESCO has written of the current situation that “official statistics…give a desperate picture of education for all, especially for girls. Independent sources and educational experts, however, are skeptical. They place the overall literacy rate at 26 per cent and the rate for girls and women at 12 per cent.” Reasons for this include corrupt political leadership as well as militants guided by misinterpretations of Islamic teaching.
The Burka Avenger addresses this in the way any good superhero should, by giving children a symbol of hope. It discusses the problem in a lighthearted way but one that does not talk down to children but encourages them to see their education as something valuable.
Thank you for your work on Burka Avenger.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Imran Ali via Flickr