Books not Bullets: A birthday request from Malala

Malala Day (Malala’s birthday) is this Sunday, July 12th. She is turning 18 and she is done with wishes. Instead of the birthday greetings, cake, balloons, gifts, parties, new clothes, special songs or any other celebratory birthday rituals practiced around the world, Malala wants action. Specifically, Malala wants you to support the cause she almost died fighting for: access to education for everyone.

The shocking truth is that world leaders have the money to fully fund primary AND secondary education around the world – but they are choosing to spend it on other things, like their military budgets. In fact, if the whole world stopped spending money on the military for just 8 days, we could have the $39 billion still needed to provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet.

If you believe education is a better investment for our future, declare your support for #booksnotbullets. Post a photo of yourself holding up your favorite book and share why YOU choose #BooksNotBullets – and why world leaders should, too.

Here is Malala, a few days before her birthday kicking off the #booksnotbullets action:

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Malala talks about her book choice:

“I chose ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ because the book reveals the courage and strength of a young girl living under war and conflict. It inspires me to believe that every child deserves the right to dream, the right to learn and the right to live in peace.

I urge world leaders to prioritize education because education is the only way through which we can defeat terrorism, fight against poverty and bring peace and prosperity. The money that is spent on just a few guns, if given to a child’s education, can change that child’s life.

We cannot stop terrorism just by killing the terrorists and people. We need to fight against the ideology of terrorism and extremism, and that can be done successfully only through education. If a child, suffering from poverty and difficulties, is not given a book, he will pick up a gun.

I call on my sisters and brothers all around the world to join me in this mission – #booksnotbullets.”

BNB-FB-Instagram1Just a few months ago leaders from more than 100 countries agreed to the Incheon Declaration in Korea, committing to provide free primary and secondary education to all children by 2030. This is a hugely positive step, but we have to ask: how serious are we at turning this promise into a reality, and what will it take?

Just as Malala needs more than birthday wishes, children around the world need more than declarations. We need action. Help us hold these leaders accountable by taking part in the Malala Birthday Action so we can show that people everywhere support #BooksnotBullets!