As an outspoken campaigner for female education across the world and impassioned speaker at the United Nations, Malala Yousafzai is one of the most remarkable people ever to have survived a gunshot to the head.
Malala was shot for speaking out against the Taliban regime that prevented her and thousands of other young girls from going to school. Since her amazing recovery, Malala’s voice has only grown louder, and the organisation set up in her name continues to help girls get access to education.
The Malala Fund works to provide opportunities for girls in the developing world, with a special focus on Malala’s home country of Pakistan. The organisation is able to maintain this focus thanks to global awareness and support, gained largely through sharing Malala’s story online.
A quick glance at malalafund.org not only explains the work of the organisation, but also introduces Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube channels to encourage people to explore what the fund does and how they can get involved.
Malala has many more public appearances, TV interviews and speeches under her belt than the average 16 year old, and the Malala Fund YouTube channel makes excellent use of these and other videos to draw attention to the issues she supports.
Her father Ziauddin’s TED talk is particularly moving, and he ends by saying, “people ask me, what is special in my mentorship which has made Malala so bold and so courageous and so vocal and so poised? I tell them, don’t ask me what I did. Ask me what I did not do. I did not clip her wings”.
Twitter has also been an important outlet for the Fund, allowing the organisation to promote its own work and add its voice to other debates around oppression. The Fund has used hashtags to their full effect, helping to create meaningful discussions under snappy titles that promote specific causes.
Over a single week this June, @MalalaFund encouraged its 61,000 followers to support the search for kidnapped girls in Nigeria under the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls, end discrimination as part of #YesAllWomen and petition world leaders to back the Global Partnership for Education under #10DaysToAct.
Malala’s digital presence is clearly more than just a vehicle for her own agenda – it’s a way of reaching out to people and strengthening the movement towards equality between men and women across the globe.
After extreme physical and emotional trauma, Malala has come back fighting. She has defied her oppressors and brought her struggle to the attention of millions, including world leaders and other decision makers who have had no choice but to stop and listen.
By refusing to let the Taliban silence her, Malala has shown us the power of the internet, the importance of speaking out, and most of all the need for many more activists like her.