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Empowering dreams: Malia’s journey to becoming a future leader

POSTED August 17, 2023

Empowering dreams: Malia’s journey to becoming a future leader

In a world where education is a luxury for many, Malia is reaching for her dreams. Her story sheds light on the power of belief, catalyzing positive change for women, and the impact of education in shaping not only an individual’s future but the shift of a nation.

By Danielle Daley, digital community coordinator, Canada

Malia standing in her school uniform with backpack

Meet Malia, a determined, tenacious and compassionate 13-year-old girl residing in the eastern region of Ghana. Her resolute self-assurance, coupled with the unwavering support from her parents and siblings are shaping her into a future leader. Despite challenges, her family’s emphasis on education and their support, is motivating her toward her dream of becoming a medical doctor, with the ultimate goal of effecting positive change within her community.

Growing up in a family of six, her father is a mechanic and mother is skilled in weaving clothes, Malia’s mornings begin with a motorcycle ride to school, by her father.  She says, “You can bike from our area for a total of 12kms to my school. But still, I see nothing wrong with it.” The daily journey doesn’t faze her, demonstrating her resilience and optimism.

Malia and her family on the back of the motorbike her father takes them to school inSince a tender age, the value of education has been deeply ingrained in her and her siblings’ lives. With her parents steadfastly by her side, Malia is undeniably making strides toward the realization of her aspirations. Her dream of becoming a doctor is fueled by the urgent need she feels to help those who need it and says, “I want to stop the use of drugs and drug abuse. Some people that take drugs in a way that they are not in their full senses so they can easily hurt or kill themselves”

Education has always been the forefront in her family, Malia has never had to worry about child marriage, she says, “A girl is supposed to get married at the age of 25 -30. She has to focus on her books, before she focuses on marriage.”

The story of many girls facing the prospect of dropping out of school to enter early marriages is all too familiar. Among these challenges, Malia stands as an exception. She speaks resolutely, saying, “If I had a friend contemplating leaving school for an early marriage, I would strongly advise against it. It’s not a favorable choice. While marriage can hold blessings, I don’t recommend it at a young age. Even though God encourages marriage, it shouldn’t be pursued in that manner.”

Malia’s conviction comes from an awareness that such decisions can yield adverse consequences, even extending to health impacts. She recognizes that the pursuit of education provides more than just knowledge; it grants young girls the power to shape their lives and futures. Her words underscore the significance of nurturing potential and challenging cultural norms to pave the way for brighter opportunities.

When children are surrounded by individuals who believe in their abilities and offer unwavering encouragement, they are inspired to excel and persevere in their educational journey. A strong support network of individuals like parents, teachers, and friends instills a sense of self-worth and determination within them. It’s evident Malia has a strong support system and when we asked what the best advice anyone has even given her, she sat and thought intently about for a while then said

“My mom gave me an advice and said focus on your books. There’s a saying that if you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate the whole nation.”

With a foundation of unwavering support, children are empowered to believe in themselves and develop their full potential as they work to reach their aspirations. If Malia were granted the opportunity to give one gift to every child in the world, she would “want to give each child a scholarship to help further their education so they can also be a future leader one day.”

Learn how you can help more children like Malia access to education, by empowering their dreams today, to become the future leaders of tomorrow.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

About ChildFund Alliance:

A member of ChildFund Alliance, Children Believe is part of a global network of child-focused development organizations working to create opportunities for children and youth, their families and communities. ChildFund helps nearly 23-million children and their families in 70 countries overcome poverty and underlying conditions that prevent children from achieving their full potential. We work to end violence against children; provide expertise in emergencies and disasters to ease the harmful impact on children and their communities; and engage children and youth to create lasting change and elevate their voices in decisions that affect their lives.

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