July 2016 WATERritual

Standing with Malala

with Diann L. Neu and WATER Staff


Listen to audio here.

Put a book, a pen, a candle, a colorful cloth in front of you.

Naming the Circle

Let us each speak our name and say where we are geographically.

Call to Gather:
Why Tell the Story of Malala in July?

“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen, can change the world.”
From a speech given to the UN Youth Assembly, just nine months after her attempted assassination.

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan. Happy Birthday, Malala! At the age of 11, she became a Pakistani activist for female education, which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her.

When she was traveling home from school on October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman shot her in the face for her views on female education. She narrowly survived the ordeal and received intensive care in England.

Malala is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize that she received in 2014 at age 17. In her first book I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, in collaboration with British journalist Christina Lamb, she demands worldwide access to education.

Malala survived a horrendous act of violence and continues to advocate for education and peace. Tonight we also take the chance to think about how we can bring her unbroken resilience back home to the United States, as we struggle to fight for equality in a country made bloody by what seems like daily shootings. May we take a moment to remember those killed in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas last week: Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahrens, and Michael Smith. We contemplate what Malala’s message of strength can teach us.

Let’s take a moment of silence together.
(Light the candle in remembrance)

Honoring Malala

Let us honor Malala by listening to her words of commitment to international education for women and children. May they inspire us to go out and make a change in the world today.

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
From a speech at Harvard University in September 2013.

Song: “One Voice” by Wailin’ Jennys (https://youtu.be/Bc6HloRYZGc)
“This is the sound of one voice….
This is the sound of one voice
One spirit, one voice
The sound of one who makes a choice
This is the sound of one voice”

“Honour your daughters, trust them and most importantly, educate them.”
Said by Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father

“Let us make our future now, and let us make our dreams tomorrow’s reality.” From a speech at Harvard University in September 2013.

Song: This is the sound of voices two…
This is the sound of voices two
The sound of me singing with you
Helping each other to make it through
This is the sound of voices two”

“Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country – this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish.”
From I Am Malala, Page 313

“I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls.”
From the Nobel Lecture in Oslo, December 10 2014.
We remember that Malala was one of three girls shot that day by the Taliban.

Song: “This is the sound of voices three…
This is the sound of voices three
Singing together in harmony
Surrendering to the mystery
This is the sound of voices three”

“Even if there was a gun in my hand and [the Talib] was standing in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion I have learned from Mohamed, the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This the legacy of change I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother. This is what my soul is telling me: be peaceful and love everyone.”
From Malala’s Speech to the United Nations, June 2013

Song: “This is the sound of all of us…
This is the sound of all of us
Singing with love and the will to trust
Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust
This is the sound of all of us
This is the sound of one voice
One people, one voice
A song for every one of us
This is the sound of one voice
This is the sound of one voice”

In Malala’s Voice

“Let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons.”
From Malala Yousafzai, speech to the United Nations, 12th July 2013.

After the attack on her life, Malala kept working for the rights and equality of children everywhere, even in the face of violence. Let us listen to her call for education through peace in her own words:
“Books, not Bullets” at the 2015 Oslo Education Summit (https://youtu.be/bxOfTQYjy9o?t=8m21s)


Use any of these questions to begin your personal reflection.

What about Malala’s life has touched you?
Who encouraged and supported your own education?
How do you keep doing justice in the face of discouragement?

Litany of Solidarity

We pray for the lives lost in Baton Rouge, St. Paul, and Dallas. May a quality education help enlighten people to use intellect and compassion to end conflict, instead of brute force.

Response: May peace be with us all.

We pray for the end of abuse, of any and all kinds, against women and girls. Like Malala, may they be inspired to rise out of silence, find a voice, and help raise each other out of the darkness of violence.

Response: May peace be with us all.

We pray for all girls worldwide who are denied education or experience a lesser form of education, just because of their gender. May the world realize that in order for humanity to reach its full potential, we must empower both men and women.

Response: May peace be with us all.

We pray for the end of the seemingly universal stream of violence both in the United States and abroad, and reflect on how an upbringing in this world marred by hate affects a child’s development and actualization.

Response: May peace be with us all.

We pray for the lives and the well-being of peace, education, and human rights activists. May they take care of themselves emotionally and physically and continue to do the important and blessed work that they do. May they keep fighting even when they are tired, keep walking even when they are blocked, keep speaking even when they are silenced. May they inspire us to continue with our own fights for justice.

Response: May peace be with us all.

Blessing for Education

“Education is one of the blessings of life — and one of its necessities.”
From Malala, Nobel Peace Prize Lecture (December 10, 2014)

We will now send children’s book donated by the Hunt-Neu family and the WATER office to Saint Camillus, a local Catholic parish engaged in community work. May we all commit to contributing to the education of youth.

Keep the Momentum Going

Read: I Am Malala
Watch: He Named Me Malala (2015)
Take Action: Help empower girls by…
Taking a book to a shelter.
Reading a book with a child.
Supporting educational centers important for girls such as libraries and community centers.
Keeping your commitment to justice, even in discouragement


Let us greet one another with peace and send peace to the world.