“There is a moment when you have to choose whether to be silent or to stand up.” – Malala Yousafzai
Great changes are made when people are willing to speak out about injustices, even at the risk of grave personal danger. Martin Luther King, Jr. had the charisma and vision to propel the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. with his message of nonviolence and equality for all. Mohatma Ghandi peacefully led India's move for independence with his compelling personality and call for peaceful disobedience. To bring peace in a world rocked by the Taliban, oppression of women, suicide bombers, airplane highjackings, and other horrific acts against innocent people – we need a proud Muslim leader to speak out against terrorism inflicted on innocent people in the Middle East and beyond. That person must be strong, intelligent, well-spoken, brave and charismatic. I hope, and believe, that person is Malala.
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights activist and the youngest person to ever receive a Nobel Peace Prize. At age 11 she began writing a blog under a pseudonym speaking out against the Taliban and voicing her support for education for girls. After gaining support in her community over the next few years, she survived an attempted assassination aboard a public bus when she was shot three times and left for dead.
He Named Me Malala is a movie that documents the Taliban's attack on this teenager and her fight for the right to education for girls in Pakistan. I believe one of the primary keys to world peace is empowerment of women and girls. And the best way to empower people is through education. As Malala says in the film, “Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons.”
My children have the typical worries of American kids: forgotten homework assignments, sibling squabbles, the occasional fight with a classmate at school, and the dreaded loss of technology due to some infraction of our household rules. As an explorer of other cultures and places, I want my kids to have an understanding of the largeness of the world and their place within it. I want them to understand that some kids have it worse than they do – much worse. I want them to be grateful for the gift of education. For it is gratitude that brings true happiness. And I want them to know that some things are worth fighting for so that they will stand up for what is right, in small and large ways throughout their lives.
That is why my family will be recording He Named Me Malala on Monday, February 29 at 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central on the National Geographic Channel. I want to watch this program together as a family so we can talk about why it's important to stand up for what is right, how to practice kindness in a sometimes cruel world, and what each of us can do to make the world a little brighter. The movie is rated PG-13, so I encourage you to preview He Named Me Malala and determine if the story is appropriate for your children. This will enable you to skip scenes and/or provide explanations as you deem necessary.
Are you on Twitter? Tweet #withMalala during the TV broadcast premiere and National Geographic Channel and 21st Century Fox will donate $1 to the Malala Fund. This charity's goal is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities. Donate now!
If you miss watching or recording the movie, you can purchase He Named Me Malala on DVD or via streaming video. You can also read about Malala's journey in her best-selling memoir, I Am Malala, or the junior readers edition of the book, appropriate for tweens and teens. There is even a picture book for children, Malala Yousafzai – Warrior with Words, which delivers her message of strength and peace without creating fear for young readers.
Will you watch He Named Me Malala with your kids? Let us know in the comments below!
A Note from The Travel Mama: I will receive a He Named Me Malala party pack for posting about this documentary. I did will not receive any other form of compensation related to this post. This story contains affiliate links to the Travel Mamas Store. Any purchases help support Travel Mamas and allow us to continue to provide stories and tips at no charge to our readers. Thank you for your support!