As a former teacher, it was hard enough for me to come to terms that some of my first graders lived in a house without books and other school supplies needed to complete homework but it’s incredible to think that 62 million girls around the world are not in school.
Since being shot by the Taliban in 2012 for publicly speaking out about their practices restricting education for girls, the world has watched Malala Yousafzai become a global education advocate and this Monday, February 29 the National Geographic Channel will premiere He Named Me Malala commercial free at 8 pm ET. If you can’t watch it live, DVR it to watch later. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Or if you’re not sure if it’s appropriate for your kids, read my 4 Reasons for Tweens to See He Named Me Malala.
This important documentary tells Malala’s story from her perspective. Taking some time with your kids to provide background information before watching the premiere can give them a better understand what they’re seeing. It’s also a good idea to talk about the documentary after you screen it to answer any questions they might have about what they saw and support them in their advocacy efforts if they are inspired to take action.
7 Things to Do Before Watching He Named Me Malala
The more children know, the easier it is for them to connect current knowledge with new learning. By providing background information before watching He Named Malala, your kids will have a better understanding about why Malala and her father, Ziauddin, were so passionate about education for girls in Pakistan but why this also made them a target for the Taliban.
The He Named Me Malala Discussion Guide is a free downloadable PDF and also the official discussion guide for the film. It is a fantastic resource but if you’re feeling like you need other resources based on the age of your kids, pick and choose from the links below to fill in their knowledge before watching the documentary:
- Watch the trailer— Start by showing your kids the trailer embedded in my post above or visit this link to give them a taste of what the documentary is like
- Provide highlights of Malala’s life— Even though she’s only 19, in her short life Malala has done a lot. The Famous People’s biography provides a helpful overview of Malala’s childhood, life, and achievements and also features a timeline for a quick overview for those who are unfamiliar with her or need a refresher course. If you want more of a narrative about Malala, Profile: Malala Yousafzai from the BBC is a great read. For visual learners, National Geographic’s Who is Malala is a great video to watch.
- Teach them the difference between a documentary and other movies they see— According to WiseGEEK, a documentary attempts to document reality through unscripted footage that includes interviews with people who aren’t actors.
- Learn about Pakistan— Find Pakistan on a map, learn facts about the country thanks to Time for Kids Around the World, and get to know what life is like for kids in Pakistan by seeing how one girl spends a typical school day.
- Develop an understanding about the Taliban— Brittanica Kids Student Encylopedia’s article about the Taliban provides just enough background information to provide history about the Taliban. Another great read is Who are the Taliban? A primer for middle school students on the blog What I Learned Today.
- Understand why girls in some countries don’t go to school— For those of us who live in the United States and have access to free education, it can be hard for our children to understand why girls around the world don’t go to school. According to the Malala Fund, “There are many reasons girls do not continue their schooling including poverty or traditions that do not value girls learning. Girls may drop out to marry, because of violence in or around school, or due to cost. Often there are simply no schools for girls to go to, even if they want to continue to learn.”
- Learn about the Nobel Peace Prize— When Malala was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, she was the youngest recipient of one of the highest honors in the world. This Time for Kids article shares why she was recognized for her work in ensuring that all children have a right to education.
How to Have a Family Discussion About He Named Me Malala
Giving kids a chance to ask questions about the documentary and checking for understanding are important parts of the learning process. Right after the movie, ask them an open-ended question like, “What did you think?” to get them talking but unless they ask the questions first, you might want to save the heavier stuff for later when they have a chance to digest what they saw.
Great resources to guide your discussion include:
- He Named Me Malala Curriculum Guide— Designed for teachers, the official curriculum guide for the documentary is a free downloadable PDF that features ways to develop understanding, essential questions, notes to educators, additional resources and the standards that are being addressed through each lesson. It’s perfect for classroom teacher and homeschooling families who are studying Malala.
- Education World’s Malal Yousafzai’s Courage: Student Discussion Guide — rich discussion questions that appear halfway down the page. Questions like “If you were a 16-year-old girl in Pakistan, could you have imagined doing what Malala did? What do you admire about Malala?” ask kids to put themsevels in Malala’s shoes but also dive deeper into bigger issues such as womens’ rights.
- I am Malala: A Resource Guide for Educators— This guide published by The Global Women’s Institute at The George Washington University is best for high schoolers who have read the I am Malala book.
3 Ways to Advocate for Global Education for Girls
Whitney Houston sung, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way” and indeed, it’s up to us to teach the next generation about the importance of education for all. After watching He Named Me Malala, it’s hard to not be inspired to become an advocate for girls’ education around the world and there are many things you can do that range from learning more about the issue to using your voice on social media channels.
- Understand how education for women fits into the United Nations Foundation’s Global Goals— There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (aka Global Goals) that are the focus of the United Nations over the next 15 years and #4 is quality education. To read about the Global Goals, I wrote this post that highlights 3 things you need to know about each but if you’re focused on education like I am, I encourage you to read my Why We Need to Provide Equal Access to Education for Kids Around the World.
- Get to know the Malala Fund— Inspired by co-founders Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai, the Malala Fund’s goal is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities. Malala Fund works with partners all over the world to empower and amplify the voices of girls, invests in local education leaders and programs, advocates for education resources and safe schools for every child.
- Use your voice to advocate for change— One of the easiest things you can do is to use your voice to advocate for change through your use of social media. Visit supportmalala.com to easily create a very cool) custom Facebook profile video to show your support. For every person who participates through March 10, 21st Century Fox will donate $1 to the Malala Fund. A $1 donation will also be made for every tweet using the hashtag #withMalala during this time period, for a total donation of up to $50,000.
Not sure what to Tweet?
Start by encouraging your followers to join you on Monday to watch the documentary or share that for every #withMalala tweet, 21st Century Fox wil donate $1. Here are tweets that you can copy, paste, schedule, and encourage your followers to retweet!
- #HeNamedMeMalala premieres commercial free on @natgeochannel 2/29 @ 8/7c! Stand #withMalala + watch with your family on.natgeo.com/1VbVWaJ
- #HeNamedMeMalala premiers on @natgeochannel 2/29 at 8/7c. See it and stand #withMalala! on.natgeo.com/1VbVWaJ
- Mark your calendar to stand #withMalala for girls’ ed. #HeNamedMeMalala premiering on @natgeochannel on.natgeo.com/1VbVWaJ
- Like to tweet? Support girls’ ed? For every #withMalala tweet til 3/10 @21CF will donate $1 to @MalalaFund. Pls RT
- I’m standing #withMalala + @21CF will donate $1 to @MalalaFund. Show girls everywhere you stand for their right to edu. Pls RT