"Before she became known around the world, Malala was known as my daughter. Today, I am known as her father!" With gentle humour and an articulate passion, Ziauddin Yousafzai spoke to students at Ray Lewis Elementary School in Hamilton recently, sharing the story of his family's journey over the past few years and his tireless efforts to encourage children to pursue a full and robust education.
His message is a powerful one - "education is life" - and his work to remove barriers that stand between children and an educated future is taking him all over the world. Best known as the father of Malala Yousafzai, the young Nobel-nominated advocate shot by the Taliban on a school bus in Pakistan, Ziauddin is a long-time educator and the United Nations Special Advisor on Global Education.
The Community Child Abuse Council's Executive Director, Karen Smith, had the honour of hearing his remarks and speaking with him while he was in Hamilton. "We are allies in this important goal. In our work with immigrant and refugee children, we see first-hand how vital it is to ensure these young people are able to fully participate in school", explains Karen. "Our OASIS Program provides trauma treatment that helps to remove a significant barrier - the symptoms that come from traumatic experiences - and to equip these young people to pursue their dreams for the future."
[Photo: N. Zeb] Karen Smith and Ziauddin Yousafzai