Kids, News, Politics

Malala Yousafzai Becomes Honourary Canadian

Photo: From computer monitor during CBC’s live broadcast during her address to Canadian Parliament, April 2017.

Malala Yousafzai has a message for Canadian kids: Don’t wait, to make a difference. Just because you’re young doesn’t mean you can’t be a leader.

Yousafzai is an activist for children’s rights, and particularly the right for girls to get an education.

In this case, “activist” means that she tries to get that message out, no matter how difficult that may be for her.

For Yousafzai, it has been very difficult, indeed. When she was 15 years old, she was attacked on her way to school. Some people in the village where she lived in Pakistan didn’t think girls should be allowed to get an education. They didn’t like Yousafzai going to school, and they wanted her to stop telling people that girls should be allowed to go to school.

Yousafzai, who is now 19 years old, was very badly hurt. It took her a long time to recover. But she never stopped telling people about how important it is for girls to get an education.

For her courage and thoughtfulness, and her efforts to help girls around the world get an education, Canada has made her an “honourary citizen.”

That means, Yousafzai is now Pakistani, but also Canadian. She is just the sixth person in Canada’s history to be awarded that honour.

In her thank-you speech in Canada’s House of Commons, she had a message for Canadian children.

“You don’t have to be as old as the very young Prime Minister Trudeau to be a leader,” she said.

She said that when she was very young, she used to think she had to get older before she could make a difference. But she said she knows now that anyone, of any age, can stand up for what they believe is right and make a difference.

She also asked Canada’s leaders to take a lead role in raising more money for the education of girls, especially in refugee camps.

After her speech, the packed crowed of Canadian politicians gave her a standing ovation and then spontaneously began singing the national anthem, O Canada.

Related Links
The full text of Malala’s speech, via CBC News:

TKN: Malala wins Nobel Peace Prize:

TKN: Malala’s first day back at school after the attack:

TKN: Malala’s father speaks out for girls’ education:

TKN: Malala’s memoir:

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The article explains, “Yousafzai is an activist for children’s rights, and particularly the right for girls to get an education.” What is a right? What are some other examples of rightsWhy should education be a right?

Reading Prompt: Responding to and Evaluating Texts
Malala Yousafzai’s story is one of exceptional courage, dedication and perseverance. What do these words mean? How does Yousafzai demonstrate these characteristics?

Express personal opinions about ideas presented in texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Make judgements and draw conclusions about the ideas and information in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their views (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Evaluate the effectiveness of both simple and complex texts based on evidence from the texts (OME, Reading: 1.8).

Language Feature: Spelling 
TKN is a Canadian website. Since it is Canadian, TKN uses the Canadian spelling of words. For example, the title of the article is “Malala Yousafzai Becomes Honourary Canadian”. Canadians spell “honourary” with the letter and Americans spell it “honorary”.

Can you think of 5 other words that have different Canadian and American spellings?