How is Malala Yousafzai involved with the release of Chibok girls?

By now you have probably read President Buhari’s response to a letter written to him by the Nobel Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai.

Malala Yousafzai is the 20-year old child-rights activist whose ill fate at the hands of the Taliban in her home country, Pakistan, brought to limelight in 2012/2013. She became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in 2014 at the age of 17 for her relentless struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.

Besides her studies which she continued (after the incident and her treatment) at the all-girls’ Edgbaston High School in Birmingham and completed in 2015 with all A’s, Malala has continued her work in ensuring that children all over have access to education. She has been going around the world trying to ensure that governments invest at least 12 years of free and high-quality education for all children.

In Nigeria, Malala’s concern stems from the fact that the educational gains in Nigeria have not reflected in girl-child empowerment. They work with agencies, schools and organisations like the Centre for Girls’ Education (CGE) in northern Nigeria, to offer girls an education and where this proves impossible, they provide alternative learning pathways.

The fund believes that the odds against female education in Nigeria are too daunting and were made worse by the abduction of the Chibok Girls in 2014. Therefore, a lot of her work in Nigeria have been for the benefit of rehabilitating the girls by providing the girls that have been released and those who escaped with counselling services and full scholarships to complete secondary school.

In 2015, a day to the one-year mark after the girls were abducted, Malala released her first “open letter” to the abducted girls. The letter was one of “solidarity, love and hope”. She related her own ordeal at te hands of the Taliban while promising them that theirs will surely come to an end soon.

While this new letter was not published the way the other was, hence the lack of specificity about the demands she must have made of the President, from the response given by the Presidency, it can be inferred that Malala has demanded that the President/ Nigerian Army provide an update on what is being done to secure the release of the remaining 195 girls.

Going by the final explanation in the January 10th letter signed on behalf of the President by Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed that the rescued girls “are being given comprehensive medical, nutritional and psychological care and support, and anyone who has seen them in recent times will attest to the fact that their reintegration back to the society is progressing well”. Malala most likely also asked about the efforts of the government regarding the rehabilitation and welfare of the 24 freed girls.

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