Moroccan student, Raouia and Sierra Leone's Aminata among seven girls awarded by the UN on Malala’s Day



When Pakistani teenage activist, Malala Yousafzai, celebrated her 16th birthday at the United Nations and demanded education for all children from the world leaders, she was not alone in her endeavour.
Seven girls from across the world, who had done their share for children’s education,
The seven girls were awarded for standing courageously and perseveringly against the odds impeding their education. Some were awarded for standing with firm determination against patriarchy and female oppression, others for transcending their physical impairment to harness their intellectual capabilities, all for the sake of having an education.

Raouia, the 12-year old Moroccan schoolgirl and Aminata, 20 from Sierra Leone were among 7 girls awarded with the UN Special Envoy for Global Education’s Youth Courage Award during the Malala Day ceremony, held on Friday, July 12 at the United Nations headquarters in New York in the presence of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

Raouia, 12, from Morocco was given the award for her fight for the right to education and her struggle to achieve her goals. She was bold enough to tell the Moroccan education minister “mind your business” when he visited a Marrakech school and told Raouia she would be better off leaving school and becoming a child bride.

“You, your time would be better spent looking for a man,” he had told her. But Raouia stood up to him and stayed in school, completing her studies.

Her staying at school in spite of the psychological trauma El Ouafa’s statement had caused her is what UN’s Malala Day organizers saw as a promising act of courage, way ahead of Raouia’s age and remarkably worthy of recognition and celebration.

Aminata, 20, from Sierra Leone also received the honour for tirelessly campaigning to ensure that children affected by the conflict in her country are able to get education.

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