“Malala and Me
A few days ago my English teacher informed me of an opportunity to explore the relation between Malala’s situation and my country. I heard about Malala mostly throughout the media. However, my teacher told me Malala’s life story. She told me about her writing, the courage she demonstrates, the tragedies she has been faced with. I feel a sense of admiration every time I read her blog.
At the same time, I know that the voice of Malala has not truly been interpreted yet by the world. The lack of education among women around the world, due to belief that men are superior is also a problem my country is encountering. Out of all of the countries along the Balkan region, Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the highest rates of illiteracy. The problem following the high illiteracy rates is the lack of money.Many of my friends can not continue their education because their parents can not afford payments. For example: the town where I live, Nemila. Is approximately 20 kilometers from the city Zenica.The added price of expensive school books and year-round bus fares results in the inability of parents to provide support for an education, money-wise.
An immense amount of girls in rural areas are not being educated as well. The problem is that our society believes women should be secluded or similarly, devote her life to the household, her children and her husband.Most often then not, primary school education is enough for these girls, only because it is obligatory.
Frequently, boys are also left uneducated due to manual labour enforced by parents. Often I remember a story my mother’s friend once told me. She is a judge, and like other parents she had hopes that her son and daughter would go to university. However, both of them only completed secondary education. Her daughter not continuing studies was harder for her to grasp. She thinks that for men it is a little easier because, they can make money doing more physical work.
Around twenty years ago, in villages near my town, a documentary was filmed about stopping children from attending school. Especially Girls.Girls who stopped attending school eventually were forced into marriage and soon became pregnant. My father was an amateur camera-man at the time who worked for the set. He explained how the outrageous amount of mistrust between husbands and medical doctors (as a result of the religion) caused complications in many pregnancies. An example of a complication was of a sixteen year-old girl, whose husband did not allow any medical treatment during her pregnancy. Her lack of any medical attention tragically, resulted in her death.
Even nowadays, often you see pregnant women doing the heavy-lifting in these villages. Arranged marriages are not rare either. The thought that a women place is in the household, to look her after children, and to fulfil obligations to her husband is still very common among these villagers.
At the same time, I still know that many years will go by until these thoughts are minimized. My country is poor and undeveloped like other countries around the Balkan region. Although it is a reacurring problem, I hope for a better future for generations to come.
In societies where all girls like Malala live, the people respond monstrously to stories like hers. More violence is a common response as well as denial. It is almost as if they think that ”sweeping it under the carpet” will make it go away. This is why I think that schooling with proper education, and the people’s rights being brought up, along with coverage in media and politics, the problem can be reduced. Even though our situation is no better than Malala’s, I stand with her. I stand with everything she represents and every life she has touched, mine included.”