When Bobbi Brown started to plan her content day project on girls’ education, she knew she wanted to focus on the prominent activist Malala Yousafzai. “I picked girls’ education as a human interest story that would be good for the content day project. Malala’s story was based in Pashwar, Pakistan, where most of the girls don’t have school because of the Taliban. It’s such a different education experience from the one I have that I thought it would be interesting to do more research on it.”
But as the project continued, Bobbi decided that Malala’s story, while inspiring and important, was only one story about girls education in Pakistan. Who helped her come to this conclusion? Director of Education Paul Pfeffer: “When I heard about Bobbi’s story, I reached out to our friends, Meghan Torrey and Amanda Jolly, at the World Affairs Council and they referred me to a former intern named Noor Malik [currently attending Trinity College in Hartford, CT] who is Pakistani. She graciously accepted Bobbi’s request for an interview.”
While Malala hails from Pashwar, Pakistan, where the Taliban has stopped a number of girls from continuing their education, Noor Malik comes from Lehore, a bigger city in the country, where she was not affected by the same policies. “When I was talking to Noor about Malala, she told me that her mother used to read the newspaper to her about what Malala was doing, but the limited education that [Malala] was fighting against didn’t affect her because she didn’t grow up in that area,” says Bobbi.
“Getting the point of view from another person from the same country helped my story by making me see that not all of Pakistan is like that – there are only some parts of the country are affected that way. After talking to Noor and researching Malala, I became more interested in the women who are fighting girls education.”
Getting different perspectives on the story helped make her overall project stronger, insisted Bobbi. It also inspired her to champion girls education in the future. “After talking to Noor and researching Malala, I became more interested in the women who are fighting for girls education. I learned that Malala has her own fund for educating girls in third world countries. If I can do something to help with that, I will.”
Listen to Bobbi’s story below.