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HTLS speaker Farah Mohamed: A beacon of hope for girls

Chief executive officer of Malala Fund Farah Mohamed is a speaker at HTLS 2017.

htls Updated: Nov 29, 2017 15:51 IST
Farah Mohamed,HTLS speaker,Malala Fund
Chief executive officer of Malala Fund Farah Mohamed. (Illustration: Animesh Debnath)

It’s been 44 years since she fled Uganda and sought asylum in Canada, but Farah Mohamed says she never forgets she was once a refugee. This is what drives her work for girls’ education around the world as chief executive officer of the Malala Fund.

Appointed to her latest assignment this February, Mohamed is a leading advocate for the rights of girls and women around the world. As founder and CEO of G(irls)20, she worked for girls’ education and the participation of women in the labour force. Before that, she served in key positions at The Belinda Stronach Foundation and the Victorian Order of Nurses, which is Canada’s largest not-for-profit charitable home and community care organisation.

The Malala Fund, named after Pakistan’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning education activist Malala Yusufzai, has invested nearly $9 million since 2014 in girls’ education programmes in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and countries hosting Syrian refugees.

Mohamed says the Malala Fund will place special emphasis on refugee girls as part of the mission to secure 12 years of free, safe and quality education. Education, she says, is an investment in economic growth, a healthier workforce, and lasting peace. “In some countries, doubling the percentage of students finishing secondary school would halve the risk of conflict,” she said recently.

In addition to advocating for greater development education aid, the Malala Fund supports education leaders in countries with the most out-of-school girls through its new initiative, the Gulmakai Network.

Mohamed sees refugee girls not as statistics, but the “faces of our future”. “The international community needs to recognise that the world’s most pressing problems can be solved not by bullets and bombs, but by investing in education for every child,” she said.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 20:55 IST