Today marks the eighteenth birthday of Malala Yousafzai, one courageous young woman, youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and tenacious children’s advocate.
Whoever would have thought that her life on the other side of the globe would have anything to do with my retirement? But it does!
Like most of my colleagues across the country, I’d regularly bought books–from my own pocketbook, as they say–for my “school kids” to add to their library collection–minus donated stickers or fanfare.
Based on my students’ interest in reading more about her life, purchasing three biographies of Malaya Yousafzai were an exception.
Planning on working another two years, but recognizing that my “plan” might become abbreviated, I made simple donated stickers with my name for those three biographies I had purchased for my students, who had grown to admire Malala, as I had done, also.
Those three biographies are the only books with my name inside them–the only three visible signs within our multi-thousand book collection that I ever was part of the students’ library—or their lives.
And, although I added first-time donated stickers with my name, it doesn’t even matter to me if not one student ever notices or cares who donated those books.
I know, and I care. I couldn’t think of a better gift to leave my students than the story of the inspirational life of Malala Yousafzai.
If you care about the world’s children, particularly the girls and young woman regularly deprived of a formal education, please consider gifting Malala on her birthday by supporting the Malala Fund, including its Books for Bullets program http://www.malala.org
I know it’s the least I can do in return for the gift she has made of her life in support of the world’s children—and the adults who care about them.
Selfishly, I am grateful to Malala for the gift she unknowingly gave to me—to be able to retire having stood up for literacy for all the world’s children, admittedly in a small, but hopefully not inconsequential way, by adding to our students’ collections of books the story of her courageous young life.
Please keep up the good work, Malala! God bless you. And thank you!