Global activist Shiza Shahid speaks at CSU

Veronica Baas

Every day, 66 million girls are denied the right to education around the world, which forces them into a state of poverty. The Malala Fund is led by a girl who took a bullet for her right to education.

The Malala fund was established by Malala Yousafzai, her father Ziauddin Yousafzai and Shiza Shahid in November 2012.


The fund is designed to fight poverty and to empower women through education, according to their website, and reaches out to girls who are living under threat or in a crisis to promote them to pursue their educations.

Shahid traveled to Colorado State University to speak about the girl’s education campaign Monday in the Lory Student Center ballroom.

“Ninety percent of every dollar that a woman earns she invests back into her community,” Shahid said in her speech. “That’s typically 30 to 40 percent for men, so if there is a silver bullet in development, it’s educating girls.”

It was a three-part event, beginning with a student run table, giving selected CSU students an opportunity to ask questions, followed by Shahid’s lecture and a reception.

Kelly Logan, a junior at CSU studying business management, was given the opportunity to join the student run table.

“It was very powerful,” Logan said. “What she has to say is universal, it’s just really important. I think everyone could benefit just from hearing about her experiences.”

Jordan Rogers, a junior at CSU studying business, also participated in the round table.

“I think we can learn a lot from her,” Rogers said. “She has a very interesting perspective on being a woman of color in a minority. She doesn’t look at it as an obstacle, she uses it as a strength and as something that makes her stand out. I think we can all gain something from that.”

The Malala fund has helped women under threat of the Taliban in Pakistan and the Boko Haram in Nigeria. Some are in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan or Lebanon, or are fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone.

“I knew that my society was in trouble but I didn’t understand it within the walls of my home, so I decided to seek out an understanding by connecting with those who live the harshest realities in my country,” Shahid said.


In doing so, Shahid was connected with Malala Yousafzai and her father. They shared her passion for women education.

From that point on Shahid helped form Malala into a global activist, guiding her to the social standing she has today.

“She came from a region that was suffering a full-blown insurgency,” Shahid said. “The Taliban had taken over, journalists had fled, the government had fled and the Taliban was targeting girl’s education. As I heard that young girl’s voice I felt deeply accountable, I knew that I could have been her.”

In 2014, Malala became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner at age 17.

The campaign has drawn in women activists worldwide, promoting women to fight for their right to be educated.

Collegian Reporter Veronica Baas can be reached at or on Twitter @vcbaas.