The 16th birthday of Malala Yousafazi, the school girl who was shot by Taliban gunmen, is to become a global day of action for education.
Young people from across the world will undertake the first ever youth takeover of the United Nations General Assembly on July 12, led by Malala.
Malala was shot by armed Taliban gunmen while she was on her way to school in Pakistan last October – targeted because of her support of girls’ education.
During the event, Malala will lead calls for an urgent prioritisation of education in failing states across the globe.
July 12 – which has been declared Malala Day – will also see a series of high profile events supported by former prime minister Gordon Brown, who is now the UN special envoy for global education, and global children’s charity Plan International.
Malala said: “This is an opportunity for every young person on the planet to get together and tell the world: we will get our education, be it at home, in school or any place. Let us work together for the rights of girls and boys. Let us build schools.”
An ardent campaigner for girls’ education in Pakistan, this will be Malala’s first major public appearance and speech since being shot last year.
Sixty million children are still out of school across the globe, despite a pledge by world leaders to ensure education for all by 2015.
Mr Brown said: “On Malala Day young people from all over the world will highlight the continued perils of child labour, child marriage and child trafficking, all of which prevent girls going to school.
“They will call for the two million teachers and four million classrooms needed to put into schooling the children who currently go without. But the speakers of Malala Day will also highlight that they are part of a fightback – a fightback by girls and boys themselves, as young people are proving more assertive than the adults who were charged with delivering their rights.”
Plan UK is hosting a live link-up with the UN event at London’s Southbank Centre which will be attended by hundreds of school children.
Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign is part of the global movement to end gender discrimination in education.
Visit www.malaladay.org.uk CAPTION: Survivor: Malala Yousafazi, soon to be 16, has become a leading figure in the fight for girls’ education