By age 18, Malala Yousafzai has accomplished more than most people will in a lifetime. Her tireless mission to provide access to education for girls in her home country of Pakistan has resulted in her being shot in the head while riding her school bus in 2012; recovering and, with her father, founding the Malala Fund to raise awareness and money for the cause in 2013; and earning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 (the prize money from which she used to build a secondary school in Pakistan).
And as she continues to pursue her own education, give talks around the world and promote her documentary, Yousafzai still managed to find time to do one more thing: create a scarf with TOMS to benefit her foundation.
“I am so proud to be partnering with the Malala Fund, and the entire movement that was inspired by Malala,” TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie tells PeopleStyle of the collaboration. “Too often young girls can’t go to school because they must work, or they have to marry, or many times there is too much violence around their schools. This movement is committed to supporting the rights of all girls globally to have access to 12 years of safe and quality education. All of us at TOMS are honored to be able to partner with the Malala Fund and help provide education to girls around world.”
And Yousafzai is equally excited about the product, the first of its kind for TOMS. “It’s a scarf girls and women can wear all over the world from the U.S. to Pakistan, whether as a fashion accessory or a beautiful headscarf or hijab,” she tells PeopleStyle. “Any girl or woman can wear it, however she wishes, to show her support for girls’ education globally. But most importantly, TOMS is giving 100 percent of the profits from every scarf to the Malala Fund to empower girls through education and I am so grateful for that.”
Celebrities including Anna Faris, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Octavia Spencer have all shown support for the cause by wearing the scarf and “creating a community and conversation around it,” as Mycoskie puts it. But that’s just one small part of Yousafzai’s exciting 2015 and even busier 2016 that she has planned.
“Most exciting for me last year was visiting Lebanon near the Syrian border on my birthday. I was there to open a school for 200 Syrian refugee girls, built and run with donations from Malala Fund supporters,” she says. “So many Syrian children have suffered from losing family members, friends, their homes and their schools. It is very important to me that they do not lose hope for their future. We are working hard to make sure they can get quality education, wherever they are — in their host countries or refugee camps.”
And she’s not slowing down one bit — 2016 will see her continue her quest to provide girls with education, up to and including herself.
“I am also focused on my studies. I tell people around the world that all girls need a quality education — and that applies to me as well,” she tells PeopleStyle. “I enjoy school, so I’m looking forward to studying, learning and continuing the fight to give all girls around the world the same opportunities. My fight for education will continue. My aim for 2016 is to raise the voices of Syrian refugee children, for their safety and education and peace.”
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She adds: “Every girl deserves an education and the opportunity to reach her full potential, but more than 60 million girls around the world are out of school today. Far too many of my sisters are denied their right to education because of poverty, war, tradition, discrimination. I believe everyone reading this would want the best for their own daughters.
So I’m asking all of you to stand with me and join the fight to educate all girls. How can we succeed when so many of us are held back?”
Pick up your own Malala Fund x TOMS scarf, which will retail for $48 and will be available at toms.com.
What do you think of the scarf? Will you be adding the charitable accessory to your spring wardrobe? Share below!
–Sarah Kinonen, reporting by Alex Apatoff