GREENBURG, N.Y. -- Students from Greenburgh’s Woodlands Middle School and RJ Bailey School were treated to a screening of “He Named Me Malala,” the Davis Guggenheim documentary about Malala Yousafzai, the world-famous Pakistani activist for female education, at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville on Tuesday.
After the students watched the moving film, they got the opportunity to ask questions of guest Heather Barr, a senior researcher on women's rights in Asia with the Human Rights Watch organization.
Barr, who Skyped with the students from London, answered dozens of their questions about Yousafzai, and human rights worldwide. The students were enthralled with Guggenheim’s film, which tells the story of Yousafzai, who stood up to the Taliban and spoke out about the right of young girls to get an education in Pakistan, where girls’ education had been outlawed and schools bombed to the ground.
Emily Keating, Director of Education at the Burns Film Center, told students that the director used a combination of archival footage, actual interviews with Yousafzai and her father, and animation to weave the story together.
After speaking out against the Taliban, the 15-year-old Yousafzai and her schoolmates were shot as they traveled in a school bus. Shot in the head, Yousafzai became an international symbol of freedom around the world. After months in a hospital in Birmingham, England, she eventually recovered from her traumatic injuries and became a spokesperson for equal rights. She earned the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her work on behalf of education, women’s rights and the rights of refugees.
She was 17 at the time and became the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate.
In introducing the film, Keating told students, “You probably went to school this morning not giving it another thought, and maybe not even wanting to go. But going to school is something you get to do every day. I think this movie will help you to think about that in a different way.”
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