Two years ago in the district of Swat in Northern Pakistan, a Taliban soldier fired three bullets at a teenage girl boarding her school bus. The assassination on the girl failed (luckily) but sparked an tremendous national outrage that got the attention of Madonna, Angelina Jolie AND Laura Bush all at once.
Photo courtesy Glamour.com
The survivor of this unthinkable attack is Malala Yusafzai, a journalist and activist who has dedicated her young life to rallying support for education and for women in Pakistan. She has blogged for the BBC, been filmed by The New Yorker, inspired a whole United Nations petition for women’s education in Pakistan and has received accolades from Harvard, Amnesty International, Clinton Foundation and many, many more. In 2013 alone Yusafzai was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, met Obama and Queen Elizabeth and had a day named after her by the UN, all at the tender age of 16.
This year, for International Women’s Day, the ‘Malala Effect’ she so courageously began continues with the release of a book by Plan Canada. Every Day is Malala Day is an inspirational children’s book written by Rosemary McCarney, Plan Canada’s CEO and President, with the momentous efforts of Yusafzai in mind.
To celebrate the launch of Every Day is Malala Day, Plan Canada commissioned 24 Canadian artists to create images to match the momentous deeds of Malala and the effects they have had on women globally. The results were beautiful and moving and as diverse as the artists who have created them, which included sculptors, painters and photographers. Plan Canada selected recognized names such as Jeffrey Robinson and Malinda Prud’homme as well as artists who are also teachers and budding artists from Toronto’s Central Commerce Collegiate Institute. These illuminating works were shown at March 7 and 8 at the Walnut Contemporary Gallery, at 201 Niagara St in Toronto.
Accompanied by photographs, the book acts as a letter to Malala from girls around the world who share their feelings with her. There are still at this time 65 million girls globally who are without education. In many third world countries, a child can be educated for as low as $40 a year. Every Day is Malala Day is designed to help educators and parents explain this to children so they can understand the way other girls around the world grow up and their diverse developmental experiences. This wonderful book will plant the seed of hope in avid young minds and perhaps even inspire them to act on it one day.
The exhibition can be experienced online at becauseiamagirl.ca.