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When 11-year-old blogger Malala Yousafzai began detailing her experiences in the Swat Valley of Pakistan for the BBC, she had no idea what momentous changes were coming in her life. Her father, Ziauddin, a school founder and dedicated teacher, was outspoken in his belief that girls, including his beloved daughter, had a right to an education. As they continued to speak out against restrictions imposed by extremists, Ziauddin received constant death threats, so many that he began to sleep in different places. But it was Malala who was almost killed, shot in the head by a gunman on her way home from school. Her survival and recovery have been little short of miraculous.
Instead of being cowed by this horrific attack, Malala began to use the international attention she attracted to advocate for the cause of girls' education worldwide. Through her speeches, her autobiography I Am Malala, the work of her fund, and her travels to places where girls' education is in crisis, she has continued to focus on the effort to give all girls safe schools, qualified teachers, and the materials they need to learn.
The film He Named Me Malala both celebrates her dedication to this cause and gives the viewer insight into her motivation. It begins with an animated portrayal of the teenage folk hero for whom Malala was named, Malalai of Maiwand, whose fearlessness and love of country turned the tide of battle for Afghan fighters. From those opening scenes, live action and animation tell the story of Malala's life before and after the attack. We see her at various times of her life: severely wounded in the hospital, teasing her brothers in her new home in England, giving a speech to the United Nations, teaching a class in Kenya, and more. Her efforts are ongoing and they are realized through her organization, the Malala Fund, which “empowers girls through quality secondary education to achieve their potential and inspire positive change in their communities.”
THE CURRICULUM GUIDE
Introduction to Teaching the He Named Me Malala curriculum.
Lesson 1: Introducing Pakistan (Social Studies, Geography, World History)
Lesson 2: The Story of Malala: Growing Up (English Language Arts, Social Studies)
Lesson 3: The Story of Malala: The Attack by the Taliban (English Language Arts, Social Studies)
Lesson 4: The Story of Malala: A New Life of Global Advocacy (English Language Arts, Social Studies)
Lesson 5: Working for Change (Social Studies/Community Service)
Lesson 6: Global Violence Against Women and Girls (Social Studies/Sociology)
Lesson 7: ‘Let this end with us’: Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize Address (English Language Arts, Social Studies, Speech/Communication)
Lesson 8: The United Nations and the Rights of Women and Children (Social Studies)
Lesson 9: Women’s Education, Health, and Economic Development (Social Studies/Health/Economics)
Lesson 10: Telling a Story Through Film (Film Literacy)