BWxD attends an evening with Malala Yousafzai

“All you need are the support of the people and a voice to bring change.”

On July 28th, Malala Yousafzai came to the Providence Dunkin Donuts Center to speak about her incredibly potent journey advocating for education rights. The conversation was moderated by NBC anchorwoman Patrice Wood and began with a musical tribute to Malala before transitioning to a Q&A. Better World by Design had the privileged opportunity to hear her wise words.

Malala’s commitment to education for all was conveyed through every answer. She stressed that education is a right, and rights need to be made accessible to all individuals. Several times during the conversation, she mentioned the importance of knowing that each and every person can contribute to society in meaningful ways. By receiving a quality education, people are more aware of this. “Education allows children to question,” Malala said. “Questioning is so important today.” When asked about how she felt about individuals being unfairly subjected to factory work in developing nations instead of going to school, she answered: “There is no shame in working in a factory. Every job has equal value. But it’s important to know that you can do anything… that anything is possible.”

She cited her father as a major influence in her life. Malala’s willingness to question and speak out against the Taliban was a part of her personality that her father encouraged. “He did not clip my wings, he let me fly,” she said during the Q&A with regards to their relationship.

A highlight of the conversation was her advice to the audience on achieving empathy, a component that every designer has grappled with when designing for a user group. She stated that sharing stories from the U.S. and from the developing world are crucial to achieving empowerment amongst individuals, and consequently, affective allyship.

The conversation closed with a question to Malala about whether she wished she had led an average teenage life instead of choosing to confront the turbulence back at home, and her answer only drew more admiration.

“For me, it is much harder to stay silent.”