Malala Yousafzai, world’s youngest Noble Peace laureate, in her new and third book ‘We are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls’ has cast a shining spot on the refugees and the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from around the globe.
The activist in a detailed interview with magazine Parade divulged how the idea of turning her own life experience as a displaced individual into a book struck her.
The book has seen Malala recounting moving tales of the girls she met while visiting refugee camps.
“Like me, the young women who share their stories in the book — from Colombia, Syria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and around the world — know what it means to leave home because it’s too dangerous to stay,” Malala explains.
“My book is titled ‘We Are Displaced’ because together, we want to help others understand the ongoing refugee crisis and how they can help,” she adds.
Opening about her own displacement and whether she has forgiven those who changed her life, Malala shared:
“I often say that forgiveness is the best revenge. Plus, I think my time and energy is best spent on school, family and advocating for girls’ education with the Malala Fund.”
She continued, “When I arrived in the UK, it wasn’t by choice. I was surrounded by people I didn’t know and forced to adjust to a new culture. I eventually did and was thankful to feel safe but I still missed home. Girls I meet who have experienced displacement often tell me the sounds and smells of home they miss. But mostly, I hear them say they want to get an education so that one day, they can return to rebuild what has been destroyed.”
However, she also realises that the problem at hand is much greater and not so easy to fix. “The policies and priorities need to change. And individuals, businesses and governments need to follow through on commitments made to support out-of-school girls and refugees.”
When asked about what is the most essential thing she wants to convey to the world about being a refugee, the young activist quoted a bunch of startling statistics.
“Currently, more than 68.5 million people around the world are living as refugees or internally displaced people due to conflict, persecution or natural disasters. And the majority of these are children, mostly girls.”
She goes on to add, “People leave jobs they love. Most students never see a classroom again. They have no choice. Whether you cross your country’s border or not, fleeing home and not knowing if you’ll ever return is a harrowing experience.”
‘We are Displaced’ chronicles the life of two girls: Zaynab and Muzoon, both of whom are refugees.
In response to a question regarding what she hopes her readers will learn from these stories, Malala said, “I hope they remind everyone that refugees are so much more than staggering statistics or tragic headlines.”
“They’ve had tough journeys. Zaynab had fled three wars by the time she turned 17 and remains separated from her sister. And when I met Muzoon, she was living in a small tent in a camp in Jordan with nine other people! Yet, these girls thrive when given support and education. They get top marks at university. They are leaders in the communities they’ve been granted asylum in. And they never shy away from an opportunity to challenge the social norms and global policies currently keeping girls out of school and refugees without aid,” she added.