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  • Writer's pictureYing-Yu, Chen (Alicia)

An evening with Malala Yousafzai

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

Malala has such a great sense of humor! Apart from the content of her sharing, her

expression and character impressed me so so much! Malala Yousafzai discussed her new book, "We Are Displaced" and shared with audiences the stories of some of the refugees and internally-displaced girls and women included in the book. She was talking about her experiences and opinions as if she was sitting in a living room, but still, clearly and ambitiously explained what she's been fighting for-- girls' education. She as a 21-year-old girl who has been through so much has inspired the world through her advocate for girls' education under the Taliban in Pakistan and her journey in supporting girls access to free, safe and quality education. At the same time, I can see myself in her. We both desire the betterment of the world as well as struggling with essays and life in the UK, sometimes feeling displaced. Winning a Nobel Peace Prize at age 17, she proved to herself and the world that age is not a barrier to make a positive, and possibly a very powerful change. Some of the children under ten as audiences there also asked her various interesting questions during the speech, which adults might feel ashamed to ask. This reminds me that we're never too old to look foolish to seek an answer to life.

"No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.

You only run for the border when you see the whole city running as well. "

–– Warsan Shire, "Home"

The stories in her book about those displaced girls and young women throughout the world, including Malala herself, were told in a straightforward but powerful way. I have seen various news about how people are forced to leave homes, but they're truly grounded in my heart, sometimes swallowing me up, sometimes sparking my enthusiasm. These mixed feelings overwhelmed me. "Not a day goes by when I don't miss my home." Malala described her feeling after she and her family were resettled in the UK. Yes, it's safe, yes, it's a new life. However, it's still not her home.

Those girls Malala met on her visit included two sisters without their parents forced to be separated for safety, a young girl witnessing her mother being killed for saving her life, a mom carrying her children fleeing home after her husband died....... You see their struggles and how much pain they're still suffering as well as how strong they became after experiencing all of this. "You shatter and break into pieces or you become so resilient that no one can break you." You see the hope in the cruelness and feel the warmth in the darkness. Malala takes the spotlight on her and reflects it onto those who had no choice but to leave their homes.

'We Are Displaced' is a very easy-reading book, perhaps also designed for children and teenagers to easily understand. Just spend a weekend, let those stories temper your emotions and feel those girls' mindfulness. For me, these stories also mirror my previous experience and the lives of those people I have encountered in my journey. At the same time, I feel incredibly blessed and embraced by so much love and support. I not only feel safe but also have a home where I can always go back, which is already an immense privilege compared to tens of millions of displaced people's lives.

#theguardianlive #malalayousafzai #wearedisplaced #todayinfocus #girlseducation #refugeegirls #internallydisplacedwomen

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