Meeting with Malala – An Inspiration
Education Project for Girls
in conjunction with CANFRO’s partner, FONDO
The struggle to claim the right to education for girls is personified by Nobel Prize winner, Malala Yousafzal. In a meeting during Malala’s 2017 Mexico City visit, the famous Pakistani activist heard first- hand from two young indigenous women from Oaxaca State about their experiences pursuing their dreams of education.
Sydney Paulina Mendoza Gutiérrez, and Alma Delia Ramirez Hernández, scholarship holders, or bacarias through CANFRO’s partner, Fondo Guadalupe Musalem, come from rural indigenous villages. Sydney Paulina is from Santa Maria Tlahultoltepec, part of the Sierra Mixe district within the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca region. Alma Delia is from Santa Cruz Zanzontepec, in the mountainous Sierra Sur.
In these remote rural communities the pressure on girls to leave school, marry young, and begin a family is strong. Responding to Malala´s questions about these barriers to education, the Oaxacan teens pointed to the culture of “machista” or sexism, and the lack of resources as key obstacles. For these girls, the meeting with Malala provided inspiration to continue their own education, and to reach out to other women from their communities to help them achieve their goals. They are ambitious: Alma wants to address health conditions in her community and be the first female president of her municipality. Sydney hopes to study medicine and become her town’s first pediatrician.
Like Malala, they aspire to help create a world where women can exercise their right to education.