Co-Founder of Malala Fund & Author of Let Her Fly
Ziauddin Yousafzai understands this kind of sacrifice well. He knows what it is like to take a stance against injustice and work to enact change on a global scale. For many years, Ziauddin served as a teacher and school administrator in his home country of Pakistan.
Some talk about change. Some write about it. Few dedicate their lives to creating change.
Ziauddin Yousafzai understands this kind of sacrifice well. He knows what it is like to take a stance against injustice and work to enact change on a global scale. For many years, Ziauddin served as a teacher and school administrator in his home country of Pakistan. His crusade against the inequalities, violence, and exploitation of women in patriarchal and tribal communities placed both him and his family in the crosshairs of the Taliban. Because of his righteous defiance, he faced the horror of almost losing his oldest child when she was targeted and shot in retaliation to their campaign to empower girls through education.
Still, in the face of death, he and his daughter—the youngest ever Nobel Laureate, Malala—refused to be silenced. Their commitment to empowering girls around the world through education far outweighs the outmoded and pernicious attitudes of those that would stand in their way.
“Why is my daughter so strong?” Yousafzai asks. “Because I did not clip her wings.” In his autobiography, Let Her Fly, he implores men around the world to emulate his parenting, set their daughters free, and empower them with the tools they need to combat gender inequality. Together, he and Malala globally champion every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. In 2013, they founded Malala Fund, which breaks down the barriers preventing more than 130 million girls around the world from going to school.
Ziauddin Yousafzai has always been moved to speak for those who could not speak for themselves. He held a particular concern for the women in his family and community who were both uneducated and overlooked. He helped as he could when he could—from reading letters written by soldiers to their mothers, to advocating for the protection of his own family members against domestic violence.
Understanding the problem for rural Pakistani women was systemic, Ziauddin focused on education. He said, “I could see that if my vision is the empowerment and independence of women, […] then the goal and the mission is to educate them. So that is why I was more interested in girls’ education because it was the greatest equalizer.”
Ziauddin’s passion for equality and education led him to establish the Khushal Public School group in the Swat Valley with little more than $150 and three students. This start-up school grew to enroll 800 children in a primary school then two separate high schools – one for boys and one for girls. His dynamic vision for education would not go unchallenged with the arrival of the Taliban.
In January of 2009, the Taliban decreed that girls could not be educated and began burning schools. Later that year, The New York Times filmed a short documentary about Ziauddin and Malala’s fight to educate girls in the Swat Valley. As the school and their notoriety grew, so did the danger inherent in being a symbol of equality and education. The Taliban campaign of terror escalated on that fateful day when a masked gunman boarded a school bus, shooting Malala and two of her friends. Malala was sent the United Kingdom to recover.
Following the assassination attempt, Ziauddin, Malala’s mother Toor Pekar, and her brothers joined her in England. The family had a choice to go away quietly. Instead, they have chosen to raise the banner of education for girls everywhere and take their fight worldwide.
In 2013, Ziauddin and Malala Yousafzai established Malala Fund to implement their crusade to bring education to every girl who would be denied access to education because of her gender. Ziauddin wrote an autobiography, Let Her Fly, and continues to speak around the globe with Malala. They were also the subject of the award-winning 2015 feature film, He Named Me, Malala.
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
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