Malala poses with ladies in Garissa County during her visit in July 2016
In June 2017, I was honored to join Malala Yousafzai and her team in her visit to Dadaab as part of her campaign for female education.
The privilege of accompanying the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate to Garissa County quickly transitioned into a very humbling experience seeing the girls want education so bad but facing a future that appears bleak. The girl child education has remained elusive in the semi-arid town that has played home to over 329,000 refugees.
Malala stated her resolve to pursue change in a powerful speech saying, “I’m here to remind world leaders all girls are important and deserve 12 years of free quality education that is safe. For any country to recover, they need to invest in education. We will not accept conversations where decisions are made without our involvement.”
With repatriation the marginalized girls go through a life that depicts horror to hopelessness. Some of the challenges that they persistently face are
• Early marriage, with some girls getting married off as young as 12 years
• Poverty- Most families have no income but survive on handouts from UNHCR
• Repatriation, going back to where there is no school, no security, no proper healthcare, no infrastructure
• Child labour- girls given more work than the boys
• Lack of role models
Figure Dadaad Refugee Camp that has been home to over 300000 refugees in Kenya
While asking her fellow females to be brave to overcome these challenges, Malala called on world leaders to come to their aid especially in giving them scholarships to be able to further their schooling. She promised to use her voice to fight for education for girls in conflict areas because every girl has a right to education. In support, Women In Technology (WIT) is plugging into her efforts to mentor the girls through the already existing initiatives from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
As WIT, it was inspiring to share a platform with the activist and encourage the girls who had almost lost hope in learning. Through the Malala fund, we met more of the affiliated partners and had a chance meeting with the Nairobits. This is an organization that bridges the gap between the slums of Nairobi and the cutting edge of digital design by empowering the youth with ICT skills. WIT now plans to partner with the program to have internship programs and industrial visits.
Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Prize laureate poses with Lilian Kiambati, Safaricom Women In Technology Head. Both are activists towards women empowerment.
Figure Malala with journalists during the Kenyan visit. She promised to use her voice to fight for girl education