Today – my 19th birthday – I’m in Kenya visiting Dadaab, the world’s largest refugee camp.
Every year on my birthday I travel to meet girls who are struggling to go to school – to stand with them and to make sure the world hears their stories.
Today in Dadaab, I met Rahma Hussein Noor, a 19-year-old who has struggled more than most of us can imagine just to go to school.
Rahma came to Dadaab at age 13, having never set foot in a classroom. She worked hard to catch up with her classmates and, in a few years, graduated primary school.
Rahma then enrolled in a secondary school in Dadaab. But when her family returned to Somalia last year, Rahma could not find another school to attend.
After two months, her father said her education was over and decided to marry her to a man over 50 years old whom Rahma had never met.
Rahma snuck out of her house and took an eight-day bus ride back to the refugee camp … all to continue her education.
Rahma is not alone. Many girls from Syria, Burundi, Afghanistan, Pakistan and all around the world have lost so much and are then forced to fight for a right they already have – the right to go to school.
Last year, the world agreed to provide 12 years of education for every boy and girl. Yet, nearly one year after making the commitment, where do we stand?
We are facing a global refugee crisis and more and more girls like Rahma are at risk of losing their chance to go to school – and their dreams for a better future.
We cannot allow girls like Rahma to fight alone. It’s time to do right by girls – #YesAllGirls.
Today, on my 19th birthday, I’m asking you to stand with me and keep fighting for girls around the world who are denied an education. Will you make a gift today to ensure girls – #YesAllGirls – get the education we promised them?
Nothing would make me prouder on my birthday than knowing we are in this together.
This blog post was reprinted in collaboration with The Malala Fund.