We Are Displaced | Malala Yousafzai

Summary of: We Are Displaced
By: Malala Yousafzai


In ‘We Are Displaced,’ Malala Yousafzai shares heartfelt stories of women and girls who have faced various challenges ranging from natural disasters and terrorism to discrimination and displacement. Delving into her childhood, Malala recounts how the world she knew was disrupted by religious extremism and political violence. As we journey through the pages, we are introduced to resilient individuals such as Zaynab and Muzoon, who, despite unimaginable odds, continue to strive for education and a better future. These stories teach us the power of hope and determination in overcoming the toughest obstacles life can throw at us.

Malala’s Childhood in Pakistan’s Swat Valley

Malala Yousafzai had a happy childhood in Pakistan’s Swat valley, a place many referred to as “the Switzerland of the East.” However, after a devastating earthquake in 2005, male religious extremists became more influential and eventually joined with the Taliban, who had not been a threat in Pakistan before. Malala encountered the Taliban for the first time on a road trip to her family’s mountain village, where she was told to cover her face at gunpoint. Over time, the situation in Swat worsened as extremism was enforced, especially against girls’ education. Malala’s father was an activist for girls’ education and the environment, and his influence on her would eventually lead her to become an advocate for girls’ education herself.

Malala’s Journey

Malala’s journey is a story of resilience, courage, and perseverance. At the age of eleven, she witnessed the Taliban’s reign of terror in the Swat Valley, where girls’ education was prohibited. She spoke out against their actions, putting her life in danger, but continued her work even after being shot in the head by a member of the Taliban. With the support of people around the world, Malala continued her advocacy for girls’ education and inspired many women and girls along the way. This is the story of her journey, the challenges she faced, and the impact she made.

The Story of Two Sisters Escaping Yemen

The summary narrates the story of Zaynab and Sabreen, two sisters born in Yemen. After their grandmother’s death, they were compelled to leave the country and apply for a US visa. Zaynab was approved, while Sabreen’s application was denied, forcing her to embark on an illegal journey to Europe. Despite facing numerous challenges, both sisters managed to reunite with their mother but had vastly different experiences settling down in a new country. While Zaynab found her way with the help of fellow Muslim students in her new school, Sabreen remains in Belgium, struggling with an uncertain future due to the lack of immigration papers.

Muzoon: A Beacon of Hope

Muzoon, a Syrian refugee in the Zaatari camp, became an advocate for girls’ education after fleeing war-torn Syria. Muzoon’s determination and resilience inspired young girls, and she helped them gain access to education, providing a spark of hope in a dire situation.

Muzoon’s inspiring story is a testament to the notion that being a refugee does not equate to being powerless. When Muzoon fled to the Zaatari refugee camp with her family, education was her primary concern. She soon found solace in the fact that there was a school at the camp where she could continue her studies and create a sense of normalcy amid the uncertain conditions.

However, she discovered that many girls in the camp did not share her enthusiasm for education since their parents prioritized early marriage as a means to secure their future. Rather than accepting this cultural norm, Muzoon decided to take matters into her own hands and began advocating for formal education for girls.

Through her persuasive and empathetic rhetoric, Muzoon was able to convince families to change their minds and send their daughters to school. One girl, who was being forced into an arranged marriage, found the courage to speak out after Muzoon offered her support and help.

Muzoon’s unwavering resilience and determination earned her a reputation as “the Malala of Syria.” Her advocacy helped many girls gain access to education, providing them with opportunities that would not have been possible otherwise. She demonstrated that change is possible even in the most dire of situations, and her story serves as a beacon of hope for those facing adversity.

Fighting for Education

Najla, a Yazidi girl from Sinjar, Iraq, fought tirelessly for her education despite her father’s resistance and societal obstacles. She even ran away to the mountains to pursue her dream of learning. Although setbacks such as her sister’s husband’s murder and a friend’s self-immolation caused her to pause her schooling, Najla persisted and resumed her education. However, in 2014, ISIS targeted the Yazidi people for genocide, causing her family to flee and leaving her dreams of education uncertain. As a refugee, Najla continued to teach other children to read and kept the hope of education alive. Malala met Najla during her Girl Power trip in 2017 and was impressed by her resilience, inviting her to the United Nations General Assembly.

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