On a surprise visit to Nigeria, Malala makes her 2014 Malala Day address surrounded by schoolgirls who escaped a Boko Haram kidnapping and the parents of girls who remain in Boko Haram capitivity. Now you can watch her full speech here.The transcript of Malala’s speech is below the video.
Malala Day Speech
Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. In the name of the God, the most merciful, most beneficial, who is the God of all I would like to say hello, As-Salamu ‘Alaykum, and welcome to all of you.
Dear sisters and brothers, on this Malala Day, I am honoured. I am honoured to be here with brave children, students, teachers, social activists, and Nigerian people.
Last Malala Day, I was in New York, in the big hall of the United Nations General Assembly. This year, I chose instead to turn 17 on the soil of Nigeria.
And I chose this for a purpose which is to honor and celebrate the strength of the children in Nigeria, and children across the world who are deprived of their basic right of I thank the Nigerian people for their warm welcome. You are an incredible, strong nation. You work every day to fight against your challenges through your unity, resilience and determination.
Dear brothers and sisters, last Malala Day, I told my story. I spoke about my life in the beautiful valley of Swat in Pakistan. I spoke about the rise of terrorism and the ban on girls’ education there, in my hometown. I spoke about the Taliban’s attack on my life, an attempt to silence me forever.
And now I will repeat, I will repeat what I said last year, that nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and
hopelessness died, strength, power and courage was born.
When I was shot by the Taliban, the world stood up. “I am Malala” was the cry that I heard all around the world.
I received thousands of good wish cards and letters from people. And I believe that God saved my life because of people’s prayers.
Today, this Malala Day, I am not here to tell my story. Because I am not the only one who has been a target of extremism, there are hundreds and thousands of children who are suffering and suffering from terrorism and violence and do not have any access to education.
I speak for those children whose right to safety, health and quality education has been snatched from them. I speak for
the 66 million girls who are out of school.
This Malala Day is the day for education of every child and is dedicated to my dear, dear, and dear Nigerian sisters who are going through the same brutal situation which I suffered through in my past. I dedicate this day to my sisters in Nigeria.
I will begin with a story. I am here to tell you about a story about a girl whom I met yesterday. I am really sorry that I cannot mention her name, but I will call her, my sister.
My sister comes from the Nigerian village of Chibok. She is 16 years old. One day, when my sister was in school, some armed
terrorists, known as Boko Haram came and tried to steal her dreams. They kidnapped her. But she was one of those luckiest ones who escaped from the abduction.
Before that her father got killed and her mother and sister got injured in the unstable situation in the North of Nigeria.
Since this attack, because of insecurity and poverty, she can no more go to school. And her favourite subject is
biology and she wants to become a doctor.
Everyday, Boko Haram raids nearby villages to terrorise the local people. Over 200 girls were kidnapped and still have not returned. Next week, it will be 100 days. 100 days since they were taken. 100 days in captivity. 100 days out of school. 100 days without parents. 100 days under fear.
Dear sisters and brothers, not only in Nigeria, but in the situation all around the world especially in the Middle East countries, African countries and Pakistan is getting worse every day and children do not have access to education. And their studies are badly effected.
Around 57 million children are out of school. 10.5 million children in Nigeria do not have access to education. Around 400 girls in total are abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria.
7 million children in Pakistan are deprived of education. And about 900,000 people are homeless in Pakistan. In
Pakistan, they had to leave their homes for their safety as there is a military operation is going on against terrorists
because of which many children now do not have any access to education and they are out of school.
Girls from Syria who were once in school and learning, now live in a camp, and struggle to understand a new life as a refugee. While the world is standing silent, doing nothing and the children in Syria are becoming a generation lost.
Because of conflict between Gaza and Israel, people are badly affected and children on both sides are suffering and recently many children died because of air strikes in Palestine, unfortunately.
Yes, sisters and brothers, issues are countless. But I am here to tell you my birthday wish on this prestigious occasion and to ask the responsible people to listen to the voice of the Nigerian girls and their parents for whom I am honouring today.
This birthday is not a kind of celebration where I will be having an enjoyment and eating cake and those things. This birthday I want to celebrate it, standing up with my Nigerian sisters and their parents, who are right here behind me.
Thank you so much for coming here. Thank you so much for coming here, both my sisters and their parents, because I know there will be many, many people who will be coming towards you and asking you questions and doing interviews. I know that your life is badly affected and these girls they have escaped from the kidnapping and they need some time to just sit quiet and just enjoy their life, just to relax for a little while, but they have sacrificed their time for this purpose that they want to tell the government to listen to their voices, listen to their voices and see to their wishes.
Thank you so much. Thank you. You are standing for those girls who are still under the abduction. Thank you for supporting me. And Malala Day. Malala Day is a day where we all stand together for those that are voiceless. For those that are voiceless and must be heard. But for things to change it must be a day of action.
Through our own organisation, the Malala Fund, we have raised about 200,000 dollars that will be given to two Nigerian-led organisations, Girl Child Concern and the Center for Girls Education.
The heads of these two organisations are here with us today, (I don’t know where they are, somewhere around here) and I am really thankful to them for the work that they are doing and for becoming partners with us, which will help us to empower and to educate Nigerian girls. Thank you so much.
I know that my small contribution is not enough. We still need a lot to do. But it is a start. I am just one girl. And this
is what I could do in such a short time. But the question here is what will the adults do? What will the responsible people do? What will the leaders do?
Dear brothers and sisters, one thing about today which was very important was my meeting with the honourable President Mr. Goodluck Jonathan. I met him today and I told him that I raise my voice of my sisters. I am representing my sisters and their parents to you today. And as you have been elected president, you need to fulfill your responsibilities. Thank you. And I told him that you need to fulfill your responsibility and your responsibility is to listen to your people who are saying bring back our girls.
And luckily the President did make two promises. He made two promises to me and to you, to the people of his country. He promised that the government will choose the best option to bring back girls alive and safe. And the second promise he made, the second promise he made, is very important, is that he will meet the parents of those girls who are abducted and I am hopeful that he will fulfill it.
I am hopeful that the President will meet you soon, because he made this promise to me and to you and to all Nigerian people.
But today I am not only asking the president and the government of Nigeria to take action, but I am also asking Boko Haram. I ask Boko Haram to stop misusing the name of Islam. I ask Boko Haram to stop misusing the name of Islam. Islam is a religion of peace. Islam allows every girl and every boy to get education, to go to school. And education is compulsory in Islam. The word Islam means peace. And the first word that was revealed on Prophet was Iqra, read, read, read. Islam gives the message of tolerance, patience, harmony and humanity.
I want to tell Boko Haram. Think about your own sisters, just think for awhile, think about your own sisters. If they suffer through the same brutal and harsh situation how would you feel, feel if your sisters are homeless, if they are under
the captivity of someone that are so violent and cruel, how would you feel. Those who are under your imprisonment are like your sisters. Islam gives a message of brotherhood. We are all sisters and brothers. You are misusing the name of Islam. You are misusing the name of Islam, but you haven’t read the Quran yet. You haven’t read about Islam yet. You should know that Islam gives a message of brotherhood. Islam says that we are all sisters and brothers, and that we should respect each other’s cultures, religions, and languages that we speak, which is to respect each
So I would request you lay down your weapons, release your sisters. Lay down your weapons, release your sisters, release my sisters, and release the daughters of this nation. Release the daughters of this nation. Let them be free; they have committed no crime.
And to Nigerian people, I would like to say that Nigeria is a rich country not because it has oil resources but because
it has people with the wealth of tolerance, bravery and courage. Because people with the wealth of humanity, this is the
wealth of people, this is the wealth of this country. People are the ones who build nations. So make your country stronger by your unity and togetherness. Make it stronger. Make it stronger. And do not judge each other on the basis of your religion, cast, colour, creed or the language that you speak. Because these are just for our identity. These are not for how we should treat each other. We should treat each other as human beings. We are all human beings and we should treat each other as human beings. We should not be screaming at each other on the basis of religion and the language that we speak.
And today I call upon the world community. I call upon the world community to protect girls across the world. Protect girls from inhuman acts and violence that girls in India are suffering, as they were hung after the rape in May. Protect girls from the cruelty which girls in my home country Pakistan are suffering through, where they are forced to marry, leaving the schools to become brides, when they should be girls. Giving birth to children when they themselves are children. No child, anywhere, no child anywhere, ever, should be target of conflict or violence.
To the girls of Nigeria, you all are sitting here. To the girls of Nigeria and across Africa, and all over the world, I want to say don’t let anyone tell you that you are weaker than or less than anything. You are not less than a boy. You are not less than a child from a richer family or a richer country. You are the future of your country. You are going to build
up your nation. You are going to build up your country. And YOU are stronger than anything and YOU can lead the
Toady I ask all countries to say no to wars. Let us say no to wars. Let us talk. Let us bring peace. Why not use dialogue?
Why not talk to each other? We are treating each other like animals. We are no more human beings. And I request that the war between Israel and Gaza should be ended. The conflict in Ukraine should be resolved. The bloodshed in Iraq and Syria should be stopped. The terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan should be eliminated.
And violence in Nigeria and other Middle Eastern African countries should be ended. Violence anywhere, in any country, war anywhere, in any countries, should be ended. Let’s say no to wars. And instead of spending money on wars, and guns and
weapons, why not spend this money on education? Why not spend this money on education? A country becomes powerful, when its people are educated, when its future generation is educated. So to make a country powerful, don’t make weapons, don’t spend money on weapons, but rather spend the money on education.
Let us all stand together. Stand together for peace and education because together we are more powerful. Stronger than any challenge. You are stronger than any We are stronger than fear. Stronger than hatred. Stronger than cruelty. Stronger than any kind of violence. We are stronger than any challenge.
Education is the best weapon through which we can fight poverty, ignorance and terrorism. The road to education, peace and equality is very long. It is a very long journey. But if we go together, we will achieve our goals and we will complete our journey. We have to walk together.
History is neither sent from the sky nor does it get made up by itself, it is we who make the history. Let us make history and bring change. Let us not forget that one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.