A few months ago, I began dreaming about what it would look like for my children to understand what it means to be global citizens. Honestly, this is new territory for me, too, and I began considering how I can love well and lead well as I learn alongside them. Specifically, in regards to my 10-year-old daughter, I was inspired by Beth Bruno’s call in her book, A Voice Becoming, to find our place within the global sisterhood of women, both near and far. What would it look like to find our place among these fierce and lovely women all over the globe and throughout time? What would it be like to know our place in God’s story, and how it connects to the stories of the global sisters we are journeying with?
So, we invited some friends and together we created a mother-daughter book club. This small group has been a great place to begin “meeting” women from all over the globe. We use their stories as a place to begin talking about injustice and to practice using our voices for good. This seemed like an overwhelming task until I was introduced to Lisa VanEngen’s book And Social Justice for All. It has given us the language and resources we were looking for to introduce these topics and truths to our daughters in an age-appropriate and relevant way. This month’s book club choice was Malala: My Story of Standing up for Girls’ Rights, by Malala Yousafzai, and we explored together the topic of education.
Our girls were inspired to join Malala in her efforts to ensure safe and quality education for all children. So they took action!
Here is how they did it, in their own words:
How did you plan your fundraiser?
Ellie: Well, we read a book called Malala. Then my mom found out about the Malala fund. So we found a family festival, and my mom and I found a way to sell treats there, and we decided to give them the money that we earned from the bake sale. That’s because we want education for girls not just in our community- it’s for girls all around the globe.
Lula: We each took a bread recipe and baked multiple loaves of bread. We sold them at a retirement home festival.
Naomi: We planned our fundraiser by knowing we wanted to help Malala on her journey to help kids have an education, and we planned on starting to sell “paint your own cookies.” They were a hit! One of the moms, Lisa Linhart, also knew someone who worked at a retirement home who offered to let us sell baked goods for the Malala fundraiser.
What was it like to know you were making a difference?
Lula: I felt excited and it was fun knowing I would be helping hundreds of girls around the world with education.
Naomi: It felt amazing to know I was making a difference, and that even I was changing the world to help all kids be able to go to school around the world. I believe all kids should get the chance at education, no matter where they live or who tells them what they can and can’t do.
Ellie: We had a lot of fun. We sold a lot of treats. We sold cinnamon rolls, all kinds of bread, and paint-your-own cookies. And at the end, we joined in the festival and ate cinnamon rolls, cotton candy, and played on the bouncy house. It felt great because I knew I was doing the right thing. Also, I knew that when we give money to the Malala fund, millions of girls big, small, old, and young would be going to school. And that is why I love making a difference: to make the world a better place.
Vivian: I think it felt good because I like to help, and just to know I was doing something good made me feel really good!
How did you choose the Malala Fund?
Naomi: We as a group (my friends in the book club) chose the Malala fund because we read the book, Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights. We decided to pick that book because we were on the topic of girls’ rights with a different book we read, so we wanted to learn more about leaders who stand up for girls.
Ellie: Lots of things inspire me to help the world. When we read the Malala book my mom and I got inspired to give money to the Malala fund so girls can go to school. When I’m into something, I push myself the whole way until I finish that goal.
Lula: In our book club, we read a book about a girl in Pakistan who fought for girls’ rights in education. Her name was Malala. Lisa (Ellie’s mom) asked if we wanted to do a fundraiser and use the money to donate to an organization called the Malala Fund.
Why do you think education for girls is important?
Vivian: I think it’s important because I think everyone should have knowledge and smarts, so we all can do a job or really just to live a good and fun life.
Naomi: I think education is important for girls because I have always loved school, and I want others to enjoy it too, just as much as I do. With this fundraiser, it allows girls to be able to learn and get the same educational rights that I have.
Lula: In Pakistan, some men think women are not capable of doing the same things men do and they want to keep it that way. So they keep girls from going to school because they don’t want them to have the same rights as boys. I think that girls all around the world should be able to have the same rights and education as boys.
Ellie: Malala talked about it in her speech. Girls need the same rights as anyone else and should not be held back by competition to learn education. Girls should be whatever they want to be, and get paid the same amount as everyone else. So I want rights and I want justice for girls. Living their life should not be a competition. That is why I think education and learning should be for everyone.
What is your favorite part or person in the story?
Lula: My favorite person in Malala’s story is Malala’s dad. He was a teacher at Malala’s school and he fought alongside Malala for girls’ rights. He was very loyal.
Vivian: Malala, because she is very inspiring to me. She is brave and willing to make a stand for girls and boys.
Naomi: My favorite person in the story is Malala because she is so brave to stand up for what she believes in even if others around her do not believe the same. Even after getting shot in the head, she still chose to tell others about her mission to help girls around the world to get educated and go to school.