What a wonderful thing it is that Malala Yousafzay and Kailash Satyarthi have won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. The Nobel committee described both laureates as “champions of peace”. They received this honour for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.
Malala Yousafzay said she was there to stand up for the rights of forgotten and frightened children, and raise their voice rather than pity them. Despite her youth, Malala has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances.
Kailash Satyarthi said receiving the prize was “a great opportunity” to further his work against child slavery. He has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.
I don’t think many of us realise on a daily basis how lucky we are to have access to schools and universities, books and teachers, in short, an education. In so many parts of the world this is just not the case- the Taliban, IS, Boko Haram and others fight against education, and use violence and repression on a daily basis to uphold their views. Everyone in my country has educational opportunities, and people are simply used to it. Being so accustomed to free public education, students have stopped thinking about how lucky they are to have the chance to pursue an education, therefore becoming ungrateful for their education.
Hopefully the choice of Yousafzay and Satyarthi this year will allow more people to receive what we take for granted.