Yousafzai Malala is a 15yaers old girl targeted by militants due to her promotion of girl education in Pakistan (Walsh, 2012). She started schooling after a charity organization started a school in her area, which paid for her school fees and stationery. She advocated for women’s rights and girl education through blogs, TV interviews and print media. The Taliban militants banned girls and women from attending school, which made her a target for their assassination. They referred to her as the Western minded girl.
It all started on 9 October when gunmen halted a van that was ferrying the girl and other students from school through the Swat Valley, one of Pakistan’s most conservative regions. The gunmen demanded that the girls identify her, who had received several death threats in the past. Some students pointed the girl out prompting one of the gunmen to open fire, which wounded three girls. Two of the girls sustained non-life-threatening wounds, but she got bullet wounds in the head and the neck leaving her in a critical condition. Doctors struggled to save the girl’s life, but an operation to remove the neck bullet left her unresponsive for three days.
Following the fatal incidence, the government of Pakistan launched the Waseela-e-Taleem program aimed at educating three million children from poor families; particularly girls to show commitment to the girl’s dream of 32million girls worldwide get an education. Program intends to enroll three million children in primary education in a period of the next four years. The program, which falls under the Benazir Income Support Program, aims at women empowerment and poverty alleviation. The BISP data shows that Pakistan has over 12million children of ages of 5-12years. Among these children, 8.5 are out of school due to poverty. Vulnerable families deal with the high poverty levels by reducing the amounts of food intake and not sending their children to school (Bilardi, 2012). Parents also withdraw the already admitted children from school to increase labor supply and bring in extra income for the family. From this context, the government of Pakistan through BISP intends to launch co-responsibility cash transfers where the families for primary school attending children will benefit. Every poor family will receive $2 every month for every child in primary school. This is to compensate the families for the incomes lost when the children go to schools rather than work for the families. This program started in Pakistan’s Punjab Province, where a study by the World Bank revealed an increase in girls’ enrolment by 9%, which is particularly encouraging.
The government of Pakistan noted that the attack on the 15years old girl was an attack on every girl child in the region, which arose the awareness on the need to protect the girl child. The new education plan has a lot of focus on the girl child (Joshua, 2012). This means that girls will have equal opportunities to attend school and classes like their boy counterparts. However, the most noteworthy aspect of the new plan is that girls do not have to forfeit school to work in for their families. In many undeveloped countries, girls are the first to be withdrawn from school, to help with housework chores and other income generating activities. However, through this program, parents will receive money for every child who attends primary education as compensation for the loss of income. This will significantly improve enrolment of girls into primary schools as evidenced by the success of the program in Punjab Province, where enrolment of the girl child raised by 9% after the launch. In addition, the attack on Malala aroused awareness of the need to protect girls from the Talibans, which will ensure that girls will not fear attending schools.