Education for Girls

By Robert W. Andrews

The education of girls should not be a luxury of the Western World. It should be a universal norm.

I think of Maria, Yesenia, Daniela, Nancy, Bresha, Torie, Susan, Kaleen, Eileen, Mari, Yari, Veronica, Fatema, Wenli and all the other girls in our program who are pursuing their education without fear of being shot in the head. I feel fortunate that about 60% of the participants in our program are girls and they feel empowered to pursue their studies with gusto and without fear. There are always gains to make and challenges to overcome, but when I stop and think of the state of education for girls in this world, my heart becomes heavy.

I recently watched the 2009 documentary, "Class Dismissed" by Adam Ellick about the young girl, Malala Yousafzai, who was recently shot for going to school  in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. ( I have been listening to clips on the radio over the past few days and along with sadness and outrage, I am proud. I am proud that our country invests in universal education for all young people regardless of gender.

When I heard Malala speak about her passion for learning, I heard the voices of girls around the world, who just want the opportunity to learn and make something for themselves in society. I hope that this tragedy will put pressure on the international community to support efforts to reform and transform cultures where compulsory education for all is not yet a reality.  


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