Nobel Peace Prize winner, education activist and all-round great person Malala Yousafzai has joined forces with Apple CEO Tim Cook with the goal of getting over 100,000 underprivileged girls into education in places including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey and Nigeria.
The campaign will see the tech giant provide Malala’s nonprofit organisation, the Malala Fund, with the funding and resources to accomplish the lofty number – which is the initial target. With Malala’s conviction and Apple’s support, the pair believe 100,000 would only be the beginning.
To launch the project, Malala met with Tim – we’re working on first name terms here, people – in Lebanon, one of the countries the scheme will target. While there, the Apple CEO told the Independent how the partnership came about after meeting Malala at Oxford University, where she is studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics:
‘We began to talk and it became so clear that she had such a bold vision. It really lined up with the boldness of Apple and that the core of it is an overriding belief in equality and that education is the great equaliser. And that has always been at the root of our company and my personal beliefs. And so it started, the fire was lit there. I instantly wanted to throw in on the vision that Malala had.’
Malala said of the first meeting with Tim: ‘I was really happy that Tim was at Oxford, and excited to meet him…we had a conversation about girls’ education and how technology can help us in getting more girls into schools and giving them the education that they want. I really wanted us to work together because Apple has expertise: they are expert in tech, they have resources and they have amazing and incredible people.’
The partnership will allow the Malala Fund to double the number of grants it distributes through its Gulmakai Network, a global support system for local educators and activists. The Gulmakai Network supports programs that are working tirelessly to tackle threats to girls’ education, like poverty, war and gender discrimination.
The network currently backs pro-education efforts in Pakistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Nigeria. The established Network means the money will go to the right places, and allow the Malala Fund to extend education funding programs to India and Latin America. If all goes to plan, Apple and Malala’s teamwork will achieve their ultimate goal: education for 100,000 girls (and counting).
After the campaign was announced, Malala dropped this statement via Twitter:
I am grateful to my friend Tim and @Apple for investing in our dream of a world where every girl can choose her own future. Together we will support the incredible girls we met in Beirut and millions like them around the world. https://t.co/nMm8aOuQVy
— Malala (@Malala) January 22, 2018
It’s certainly a bold vision. But when you combine the resources and expertise of Apple with the unstoppable determination and influence of Malala, few would doubt them achieving it.