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Malala Leads Global Youth Call

Student campaigner Malala Yousafazi is marking her 16th birthday by taking her education campaign global.

Young people from all over the world will undertake the first ever youth takeover of the United Nations General Assembly on July 12th, led by Malala.

Malala was shot by armed Taliban gunmen while she was on her way to school in Pakistan last October – targeted for her support of girls’ education.

Photographed at her new home in the UK, Malala showed her support for Plan’s global Because I am a Girl campaign by raising her hand for girls’ education worldwide.

The teenager will lead the unique UN event, calling for urgent prioritization of education in failing states across the globe and highlighting the plight of ‘other Malalas’ around the world.

A series of high-profile events will be championed by UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, A World At School, and global children’s charity Plan International.

July 12th has been officially declared as Malala Day.

“This is an opportunity for every young person on the planet to get together and tell the world: we will get our education, be it at home, in school or any place,” says Malala.

An ardent campaigner for girls’ education in Pakistan, this will be Malala’s first major public appearance and speech since being shot last year.

"On Malala Day young people from all over the world will highlight the continued perils of child labor, child marriage, and child trafficking, all of which prevent girls going to school. They will call for the two million teachers and four million classrooms needed to put into schooling the children who currently go without,” said Mr. Brown.

"But the speakers of Malala Day will also highlight that they are part of a fightback - a fightback by girls and boys themselves, as young people are proving more assertive than the adults who were charged with delivering their rights."

In addition to activities in New York, Plan is hosting a live link-up with the event at London’s Southbank Centre which will be attended by hundreds of school children, youth representatives and Plan UK Ambassador, Sarah Brown.

The link-up will bring together hundreds of school children from the UK with young people leading the UN takeover.

Plan’s Because I am a Girl campaign backs Mr. Brown’s work to end gender discrimination in schools around the world.

Plan has a delegation of young people taking part in the UN youth takeover which is calling for urgent action by member states to ensure they meet Millennium Development Goal 2 on education by 2015.

Their inputs will also then feed into setting the agenda for global education priorities post-2015. Plan International CEO Nigel Chapman said: “This is a truly unique and landmark event which puts education high up on the agenda. Malala has become iconic in representing many girls’ difficult struggle to obtain their rightful education.”

“But there are millions of ‘other Malalas’ across the world – a whole generation of girls and boys who are excluded daily from learning by violence, discrimination or harmful traditional practices. This momentous takeover day is about standing together and ensuring that their voices are heard.”

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