Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai addresses the Canadian Parliament as she became a honorary Canadian Citizen
A portion of Malala’s speech to the Canadian parliament has been adapted and edited to reflect the thoughts, idea and style of one poet while endeavoring to remain true to the messages Malala brought to the Canadians. Here is the poetry piece as seen through the eyes of the poet himself; E Lloyd Kelly
Malala’s speech to the Canadian Parliament put to poetry
I used to think I had to wait to be an adult to be able lead.
But I've learned that even a child's voice can be heard around the world.
Young women of Canada, step forward and raise your voices.
The next time I visit, I hope I see more of you filling these seats (in Parliament that is).
Men of Canada, be proud feminists. And help women get equal opportunities.
And to the leaders of Canada in this room today:
Having different politics and priorities though you may,
I know each of you is trying to respond to some of our world's most pressing problems.
I have travelled the world and met people in many countries.
I've seen firsthand many of the problems we are facing today such as these;
war, economic instability, climate change and health crises.
And I can tell you that the answer to all of this is…girls.
Secondary education for girls can transform communities,
It can transform our world country by countries.
Here I stand today, to tell you what the statistics say:
- If all girls went to school for 12 years, low and middle income countries,
- could add $92 billion per year to their economies.
- Educated girls are less likely to marry young or contract HIV - and more likely to have, educated children who are healthy.
- The Brookings Institution calls secondary schooling for girls the most cost-effective
- and best investment against climate change.
- When a country gives all its children secondary education,
- they cut their risk of war to a fraction
Education is vital for security around the world
because extremism grows alongside inequality so we are told.
In places where people feel they have no voice, no hope no opportunities.
When women are educated, there are more jobs for everybody.
When mothers can keep their children alive and send them to school, there is hope.
But around the world, 130 million girls, are out of school today.
They may not have read the studies and they may not know what the statistics say
But they do understand that education is their only path to a brighter future.
And they are fighting to go to school
I was introduced to the bravest girl I've ever met last summer,
This happened while I was on a trip to Kenya,.
At 13, Rahma's family fled Somalia, and came to Dadaab; the world's largest refugee camp.
She had never been inside a classroom before,
but she worked hard and in a few years, graduated primary school
At age 18, her parents decided to move back to Somalia.
That she could continue her education they’d promised Rahma.
But when her family returned there they found out then,
that there were no schools left for her to attend.
Her father told her that her education was finished
that she would soon be marrying a man who was around 50ish
Rahma remembered a friend from the refugee camp,
who had won a scholarship to a university in Canada
She borrowed a neighbor's Internet connection
and contacted the university student who is now Canadian
Via the magic and wonders of Facebook.
the university student in Canada sent her 70 bucks.
one night, Rahma snuck quietly out of her house,
bought a bus ticket and on an eight-day trip she set out
back to the refugee camp, the only place that she knew
Where she could go to school and continue to grow.
We promised that donor countries and developing countries would work together
Through the Sustainable Development Goals.
That She would go to school for 12 years, was our nations promised.
Let’s make this dream a reality for every girl.
I know that politicians cannot keep every promise which they make
But this is one you must honor she state.
World leaders can no longer expect girls like Rahma… to fight this battle alone.
We can gain peace, grow economies, improve our public health and the very air that we breathe. Or we can do nothing and lose another generation of girls.
I know where I stand
I stand with girls, as someone who knows what it's like, to flee your home and wonder if you'll ever go back to school & learn.
I stand with girls, as someone who knows how it feels to have your right to education taken away,
. I stand with girls, as someone who knows how it feels to have your dreams threatened.
If you stand with me, I ask you to seize every opportunity for girls' education over the next year.
I know where I stand. Dear Canada, I am asking you to stand with me and lead once again:
First, make girls' education a central theme of your G7 Presidency next year.
Second, use your influence to help fill the global education funding gap.
You had raised billions of dollars and saved lives when you hosted the Global Fund replenishment in Montreal last year.
Show now, the same leadership for education and purpose to surpass that.
Host the upcoming replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education,
bring world leaders together and raise new funding for girls to go to school and access tuition.
If Canada leads, wherever Canada go, this much I know; the world will follow.
Today only a quarter of refugee children get a secondary education.
We should not ask children who flee their homes to also give up their dreams.
And finally, I ask of you, press forward, prioritize 12 years of schooling for refugees.
we must recognize that young refugees are future leaders on whom we will all depend for peace.
The world needs leadership based on serving humanity,
not based on how many weapons one have.
Canada can take that lead and get on with the job.
Our world has many problems, but we don't need to look far to find the solution because, we already have them:
She is living in a refugee camp in Jordan.
She is walking five kilometers to school in Guatemala.
She is sewing footballs to pay enrolment fees in India.
She is every one of the girls out of school around the world today.
We know what to do and this point you must not miss,
we must look inside ourselves for the will to keep our promises.
Dear sisters and brothers, we have a responsibility to improve our world.
When future generations read about us in their books or on their iPads
or whatever the next innovation will be,
I don't want them to be shocked at what they happened see
That 130 million girls could not go to school and we did nothing.
I don't want them to be shocked that we did not stand up for child refugees,
as millions of families fled their homes and family.
I don't want us to be known for failing them.
Let future generations say of us, we were the ones who stood up.
Let them say that we were the ones who spoke up.
Let them say we were the first to live in a world where
all girls “as well as boys” can learn and lead without fear.
I Thank you
portion of Malala Yousafzai's speech Wednesday, April 12, 2017 to MPs, senators, dignitaries and guests during a joint session of Parliament. Note, the text differ from her speech as delivered
HOWEVER, we did try to remain true to the essence of her message.
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