With the news of the Taliban’s horrific shooting of Malala Yousufzai in October, our thoughts naturally went to the girls we sponsor in Pakistan. Safeer Ullah Khan, our contact in Pakistan, assured us that all of the girls are safe. He reports that their education is not threatened and Chakwal, where their school is located, is one of the most peaceful districts in the country.
“The girls … in Chakwal are far away from Malala’s town; it is about 400 kilometers away, and takes around 9 to 10 hours to reach Laphi (a town within Chakwal) from Malala’s town,” he said.
Safeer noted that he and his colleagues are always alert to reports or informal information about local terrorist activity, and they work with parents, teachers, staff and volunteers to assure the girls’ safety at all times.
According to Safeer, “Thousands of girls in Chakwal district are going to their schools every day. Prayers for Malala’s early recovery were held in most of the schools, colleges and mosques of Chakwal.” Malala is recovering in England after surviving the shooting.
But as the country reeled from the attack on Malala, Pakistanis also united behind her cause, “An overwhelming majority of the people of Pakistan are in favor of girls’ education,” Safeer said. “And they have condemned the cowardly attack on Malala.”
With the shooting, a worldwide conversation began around the education of girls in developing nations. We welcome this discussion, and hope that this tragedy will make the Girls Ed vision a reality: a world where educational opportunities for women and girls are equal to those typically afforded boys and men, providing the foundation for healthier and prosperous societies that reflect their unique cultural differences.
After assuring Girls Ed of our girls’ safety, Safeer shared perhaps the best piece of news from Pakistan: “It should be noted that people of her (Malala’s) town have not stopped sending their girls to school. Her school is still open and girls are studying there.” It seems there are many Malalas in Pakistan, and with your continued generosity, we are more determined than ever to help them succeed.