Malala Yousafzai’s father, Ziauddin Yousufzai, has written an open letter to the parents of Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, saying “we cannot rest until we have justice for your daughters and for all girls and boys kept out of school”.
Malala and her father have become global advocates for education after Malala survived an attack on her by Taliban two years ago. She and Kailash Satyarthi won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
According to ABC News, Ziauddin’s letter came to the fore on the eve of the 300th day of the schoolgirls’ abduction. Following is the full text of the letter:
Open Letter from Ziauddin Yousafzai to the Parents of Abducted Chibok Girls
Dear parents of the kidnapped schoolgirls of Chibok,
My heart is heavy as I write to you on the eve of the 300th day since your beloved daughters have been taken from you. You are in my prayers every day. You have known a pain no parent should ever know.
It was this past July when Malala and I sat with you as you shared stories of your brave daughters, shed tears with you, and prayed with you for their safe return. We challenged President Goodluck Jonathan to meet with you, acknowledge your pain, acknowledge the sacrifice your daughters made to achieve an education, and promise his support.
Seven months later, I say not enough has been done. The world may turn their attention away, but my daughter Malala and I will not forget you nor your children. Like Malala, your children were targeted simply for being girls who love to learn.
Today, Malala and I call on President Goodluck Jonathan to take resolute action and increase the Nigerian government’s efforts to bring your daughters home safe and alive. It is his duty and responsibility to ensure the welfare of all Nigerian citizens.
It is up to all of Nigeria and the global community to raise their voices louder and demand your girls be brought home safely.
Education is a pathway to opportunity but every day women and girls face unspeakable challenges in their journeys to a better life. This is why through the Malala Fund, our family has continued to give its funding to support teenage girls in Northern Nigeria to allow them to pursue their education despite the many challenges they face.
When Malala was attacked by extremists for her commitment to education, I struggled to understand such a devastating act of violence. Sadly, these threats are an everyday reality for millions of girls and boys around the world, with the recent attack on a school in my nation of Pakistan being yet another tragic reminder of the risks faced by students and teachers. A school is a sacred place, an institution of growth and learning where no child should ever fear violence or retribution. It is my wish to see your daughters return home and to their classrooms in order to continue with their education, in a safe and protected environment.
Together we are stronger than the fear and ignorance attempting to tear us and our families apart. We cannot accept silent inaction. We cannot rest until we have justice for your daughters and for all girls and boys kept out of school.
Malala and I continue to stand with you and ask everyone to not forget, raise their voice, and demand the immediate return of your daughters.
With all my solidarity,
Your friend and father of Malala, Ziauddin Yousafzai.