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When Malala, Rihanna united for girls' education

By News Express on 02/09/2017

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Robyn Rihanna Fenty of Barbados and Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan are two of a kind. These two females are of different epochs and geography, but in terms of charisma and the passionate drive to fast-track the educational emancipation of the girl-child globally, they are like birds of the same feather. 

The two witnessed tumultuous childhood. Rihanna, as a teenager, reportedly turned to singing as a release from her troubles at home in Barbados. She formed a girl-group with two classmates. When the duo were 15 they scored an audition with Music Producer, Evan Rodgers, who was visiting the Island with his Barbadian wife. Rodgers was awed by the precociously beautiful and talented Rihanna, to the unfortunate detriment of her two friends. Less than a year later, when Rihanna was 16 years old, she left to move in with Rodgers and his wife in Connecticut. She, thereafter, blossomed into an internationally acclaimed pop star. 

Whereas Rihanna is an international pop star, who has achieved phenomenal fame and fortune, the little Malala, on the other hand, is a child-rights activist who escaped assassination from her native land because of her zeal for education. She won the Nobel Prize for Peace, and has made phenomenal impact in the area of campaigning around the world for the educational empowerment of the girl=child.

Rihanna lives in the United States, from where she travels around the world, to spread happiness through her musical talents. But, again, she has gradually become a champion for girl-education. She has through her numerous melodious songs and advocacy activities carried through a vigorous global campaign for the educational empowerment of girls.

Malala has also become a global ambassador for child-rights, with specific focus on the thematic mandate of education. Malala is known to have traversed all continents of the world to preach the sermons of education for the most disadvantaged persons, being the girl children, especially in the developing communities of Asia, Middle East and continental Africa.

These two inspirational feminine characters have made the right news in recent times. While Malala left the comfort of her abode in the United Kingdom to visit the largest black nation in the world, Nigeria, Rihanna took off from her United States' base to pay a working visit to France, whereby she met with the wife of French President, Emmanuel Macron. It must be noted that Macron’s wife is a professional educationist. In fact, as a teacher, according to some reports, she taught young Emmanuel Macron in school. On the other leg of this same developing story, we must note that during her whistle-stop visitation to Nigeria, Malala met with the Acting President of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo. The thematic area of their consultations was on the education of the Nigerian girl-children. Incidentally, Nigeria has a very notorious reputation for being the home to the largest population of out of school girls globally. 

Malala has over the last two years paid considerable attention to the cruel fate of the over 300 kidnapped students of Chibok girls’ school in Borno, North-east of Nigeria, who were abducted and enslaved by the armed Islamic terror group Boko Haram. Malala was a victim of cruel gun-attack by the armed Islamists in her native Pakistan, called Taliban, after which she was flown to the United Kingdom, whereby she got a rousing welcome from the British people. 

Malala Yousafzai during her visit said that though Nigeria is the richest country in Africa, it has more girls out of school than any country in the world. Malala has mixed up so well around the World and is attending some of the best educational faculties in Britain and so, she is very current about statistics, such as the one she brandished, depicting the sorry state of girl-education in Nigeria. It must be noted that girls and women are disadvantaged, not just educationally and politically, but also in terms of income redistribution. This pathetic situation of girls made the education activist Malala to have met during her visit to Nigeria with girls displaced by the Boko Haram crisis during which time she said studies are clear that educating girls grows economies, reduces conflict and improves public health.

She said: “For these girls and for their country’s future, Nigeria’s leaders must immediately prioritise education.”

This is even as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) education response in the North-east remains critically underfunded, with just 54 per cent of the $31.4 million appeal received, leaving a funding gap of $14.4 million.

While in Maiduguri, the epicentre of the Boko Haram insurgency Nigeria, Malala visited school children in a camp for displaced families and secondary school girls at Yerwa Government Girls School. Over 2,295 teachers have been killed and 19,000 displaced and almost 1,400 schools destroyed since the start of the Boko Haram insurgency in 2009.

Three million children in the North-east are in need of support to keep learning, so says a global statistical data. While the 90 camps and camp-like settings in Maiduguri house thousands of families, more than three-quarters of the 600,000-plus displaced people are living with family, relatives or friends in host communities, placing additional burden on local schools. Recall that beyond the crisis in the North-east, Nigeria already had the largest number of children out of school in the world, – over 10.5 million. Among primary school-aged children not in school, only five per cent are drop-outs: three-quarters of them will never step foot in a classroom, and the majority are girls. Across West Africa, 46 per cent of primary school-aged children not in school are Nigerians. 

Globally, one in five children not enrolled are Nigerians. These sad facts are so cruel to even contemplate. 

The UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria, Malick Fall, said: “We will do everything in our power to make sure all children can keep learning. We believe that education, especially for girls, is the single most important way to bring hope, peace and prosperity not just for this generation, but also for future generations.”

On her part, Rihanna held very constructive consultations with the educationist and wife of the French president in Paris, France.

The visit of the pop star to France elicited widespread excitement even as the media described the meeting as an excellent achievement for the young French president and his wife.

The French Radio international described the meeting in the following flowery terms:  “French President Emmanuel Macron continued to reach for the stars this week - hosting R&B star Rihanna on Wednesday - for what she called ‘incredible’ talks at the Elysée presidential palace two days after meeting Irish rocker, Bono.” 

•RIGHTSVIEW appears on Wednesdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, a popular activist, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). He can be reached via 08033327672 (sms only) or via doziebiko@yahoo.com 

Source News Express

Posted 02/09/2017 9:58:03 PM

 

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