Next week, on July 12, Malala will be celebrating her eighteenth birthday with the action hashtag #BooksNotBullets and a plan to get all kids access to free education.
“We will continue to speak out and raise our voices until we see every child in school," said the Nobel Prize Winner and documentary star, who survived an assassination attempt for speaking up about girls’ education. Right now almost 60 million kids are unable to attend school, and each year Malala says another $39 billion globally should go toward education.
In America, public schools are free, but in many parts of the world, it costs money to go to any school at all. This, coupled with stigma against education and lack of schools, has led to the situation we’re in today. 100 more countries have pledged to get universal education in the next 15 years, but that doesn’t mean that situation is fixed.
The Huffington Post reports, “While aid for basic education had doubled from 2002 to 2009, it has since stagnated and fallen in recent years...Even though many countries have increased their national budget allocations, progress in getting more children to school has stalled.”
While Malala has mapped out a basic idea of the amount needed to get all kids access to free school, there’s always the next question: where does that money come from? Malala thinks at least one fifth of a nation’s money should go to education, and countries shouldn’t spend so much on war.
The Malala Fund website states, “[I]f the whole world stopped spending money on the military for just 8 days, we could have the $39 billion still needed to provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet.”
The #BooksNotBullets campaign says, “Post a photo of yourself holding up your favorite book and share why YOU choose #BooksNotBullets - and tell world leaders to fund the real weapon for change, education! We'll use them on Malala Day to show world leaders that the public wants global education to be a top priority!”
This is certainly shaping up to be a birthday to remember for Malala.