Good afternoon, everyone.
My name is Scott Williams, and I am currently working as an intern for Sister Paulette and Project Peace. The majority of my duties here involve social media and creative assignments, but today, I wanted to share with you one of Project Peace’s bigger projects that I have been tackling lately.
Each year, Project Peace holds a booth at the Seneca County Fair, side-by-side with the Pax Christi group, another peaceful advocate here at the Sisters of St. Francis.
This year, the booth is centering around “Steps to Peace.” My main task for the booth was to come up with an archetypal figure of peace and then create a life-sized cut-out of them. After some deliberation, we decided on Malala Yousafzai. For those of you who are not familiar with Malala, let me share some of her major accomplishments:
Since 2009, Malala has worked tirelessly at evening the playing field for women in education. She wrote letters and essays for many outlets, including the BBC Urdu, usually under a pseudonym for protection. Her efforts broke her through her first threshold in 2011 when she was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. After this, she was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Youth Peace Prize.
Unfortunately, though this was cause for celebration, these accomplishments had her marked by the Taliban and became branded for death by its leaders.
In October of 2012, the Taliban found her. While on the bus home from school, the bus was stopped, and an armed masked man stepped onto the bus. After the man asked for Malala by name, he shot her with just one bullet, which went through her head, shoulder, and neck. Though she did survive, she was transported to the UK for more advanced medical treatment.
When she was released in January of 2013, the whole world was already learning about her story. Protests littered the entire country of Pakistan, and 2 million people, moved by her story, signed a petition that led to the Pakistani government passing the Right To Free and Compulsory Education Bill.
Since then, Malala has started her own campaign which seeks to “bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential and to demand change.” She also wrote her own story in the New York Times Bestseller “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.” In 2014, she was also awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest recipient to date. She continues to advocate for women’s equality in education.
Because of all of her devoted work to paving the road to equality and ending the violent grasps that currently make equality difficult, she seemed a fitting role model for the children who stop by the booth this year.
The Seneca County Fair takes place July 25th-31st. Project Peace’s “Steps to Peace” booth will be located in the Old Merchant Building. In addition to the cut-out of Malala, the booth will also have information on Project Peace, games for the kids, and an opportunity to make peace head bands.
If you would like more information or would care to volunteer at our booth, contact Sister Paulette, coordinator of Project Peace, at (419) 447-0435 x.136.
It has been an exciting month for me here with Project Peace, and I cannot wait to see where the rest of my time here will lead me.