Spotlight on Women’s Rights Activist Malala Yousafzai

Activist Malala Yousafzai. Original Photo Source: AK Rockefeller, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Flickr

Malala Yousafzai first came to public attention in 2009 when she wrote a BBC diary about life in Swat Valley in Northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had banned girls from attending school. Her diary chronicled her desire to remain in education and for girls to have the chance to be educated.

She wrote it under a pseudonym, Gul Makai, the name of a heroine from a Pashtun folk tale. Three years later, in 2012, she was shot in the head and neck due to this, after her school bus was boarded by a member of the Taliban. Her recovery process began in Pakistan and continued in England, where she now lives with her family. Today, Malala is 17 years old.

Malala Yousafzai: Awards and Achievements

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Mothers! The First Women to Inspire Us

Photo of Elaine Pereira and Her Mom Betty. Photo Courtesy of Elaine Pereira.

Elaine and Her Mom Betty

Ah yes, mothers! Now is the time to celebrate you all! Please welcome author, speaker and certified dementia practitioner Elaine Pereira here today for a guest post. Thank you, Elaine for your wonderful post! I hope you enjoy her reflections written below on how her mother, diagnosed with dementia, has inspired her. The story has inspired Elaine to write the book I Will Never Forget – and she is the perfect one to write it, given the experiences she outlines here.

Here is Elaine’s post!

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Mothers! The First Women to Inspire Us

A lengthy and impressive list of remarkable women have achieved medical miracles, championed causes and modeled extraordinary grace collectively “making a real difference”.  But there are literally millions of women, mostly invisible to the world, who selflessly execute the most difficult job there is: Being a Mom!

Raising children from infancy, through teenager abyss and into adulthood without abandoning ship is only part of their accomplishment.  The other side of life’s motherhood coin is the daunting responsibility of being a parent to your parent!

I know! I’ve been there. Just like many of you who have, are or will be!  Honestly parenting my twin daughters was easier than parenting my mom.

Elaine and Her Mother. Photo Source: © Elaine Pereira.

Setting The Bar High

My mother’s incredible life traversed almost nine decades.  Born in 1924, Elizabeth (Betty) was five when the Great Depression hit causing severe financial havoc.  Later, in the shadows of World War II, Betty earned her BS in chemistry. Relocating as a young woman from Indiana for a job in Michigan, she was a trailblazing role model for others.

My parents married in 1946.  Gerald was born in 1947 and David in 1949.  Four months pregnant with her third child in 1951, unspeakable tragedy struck.  Their car was T-boned by a young driver who plowed into the front passenger side where my mom was cradling 20 month old David.  Hurled into the dashboard, little David lived only a few days.

Before car seats, seat belts and car insurance they endured emotional devastation and faced financial ruin.  But despite mom’s numerous injuries, she remained resolutely strong for her unborn baby, me!

 A Great Mom

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How One Young Woman Broke My Heart and Repaired It

Sparkling Heart

A heart is priceless, as I found reading the book titled a picture is worth… (Photo Source: little*star, CC BY-ND 4.0, via Flickr)

I began reading a picture is worth… this week and my heart broke as I read the first personal essay written by a young woman named Aayilah. a picture is worth… is a book composed of a collection of personal essays written by US high school students; it is designed to be an education curriculum component along with photos, blogs and audio segments. The goal is to inspire learning in young people by encouraging them to share their stories, as well as to develop new ways of educating and connecting students. The story told by Aayilah of her life broke my heart and repaired it, all within one chapter.

Aayilah is a 15-year-old student who came to the US from Trinidad and Tobago to live with her mother and pursue her education. She begins her essay by explaining that her life in Trinidad and Tobago living with her dad was difficult. Her stepmom beat her, and she often slept on the hard, cold floor rather than the bed because her family was so large that her siblings took over her bed at night. More troubles began when Aaliyah contacted her mom to live with her in the United States and then moved in with her.

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