Malala interacts with flood-hit women and children in Sindh’s Johi

Published October 12, 2022
Malala Yousafzai on October 12 met with victims of Pakistan’s devastating monsoon floods, in only the second visit to her home country since being shot by the Taliban a decade ago. — AFP
Malala Yousafzai on October 12 met with victims of Pakistan’s devastating monsoon floods, in only the second visit to her home country since being shot by the Taliban a decade ago. — AFP
Malala Yousafzai interacts girls at a flood camp in Sindh’s Johi on Wednesday. — Screengrab from video provided by Mohammad Hussein Khan
Malala Yousafzai interacts girls at a flood camp in Sindh’s Johi on Wednesday. — Screengrab from video provided by Mohammad Hussein Khan
Malala Yousafzai and Sindh Information Minister Syed Sardar Shah at Sindh’s Johi on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Malala Yousafzai and Sindh Information Minister Syed Sardar Shah at Sindh’s Johi on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai landed in Dadu district’s Johi on Wednesday and met survivors who were displaced by devastating floods in late August.

Johi taluka was badly affected by recent floods, but its residents managed to save the city by raising a ring dyke around it, preventing the entry of floodwaters.

In a high-profile visit that came amidst unprecedented security, Yousafzai landed at an oil field’s helipad and then was taken to Johi’s Kheer Mori area near Ibrahim Chandio village on a 15-minute drive.

Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah and Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho accompanied her, as well as singer and social activist Shehzad Roy.

Yousafzai met representatives of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Research and Development Foundation (RDF) — the organisations that are busy in the flood response in collaboration with the provincial government.

RDF’s executive director Ashfaq Soomro briefed her about the organisation’s response to floods and survivors. “I informed her about our response and activities continuing for the last 45 days”, he said.

Soomro added that Yousafzai went to meet women and children in safe spaces created separately created for them.

Soomro told Dawn.com that the Nobel laureate spent around two hours in the area meeting children and women to learn about their problems. He said it was a high-profile visit in which security remained tight.

IRC senior member Asif Hayat also spoke to her, sharing details on how IRC was responding to people in the aftermath of floods in collaboration with the government and civil society.

He said IRC was engaged in similar activities in Mirpurkhas, Badin and Sanghar districts which were affected by floods.

Meanwhile, the education minister shared details of relief measures adopted by the provincial government with her.

According to information shared by the chief minister’s media consultant Rasheed Channa, the education minister briefed her about the state of schools and children, stating that 12,000 schools had housed two million children in Sindh.

The education of these 2m children was affected, he said and added that “still many areas are under water”.

Yousafzai expressed concern over the effects of floods on children’s education, according to information from the media consultant. Women survivors shared their problems with her. She also visited Main Nara Valley Drain (MNVD) which was carrying floodwaters.

Dadu Deputy Commissioner Murtaza Ali Shah briefed her about MNVD and floods. She also met families encamped under makeshift tents on the MNVD’s embankment.

Sukkur Senior Superintendent of Police Irfan Samo presented a shawl and ajrak to the Nobel laureate and her father Ziauddin Yousafzai on behalf of Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

Sindh CM, Malala discuss effects of floods on children’s education

In his meeting with the Noble laureate, CM Shah said her visit to flood-hit areas of Dadu and meeting with affected families living in camps had further stressed the need of supporting the devastated people’s rehabilitation.

The chief minister and Yousufzai discussed the overall flood situation, the havoc caused and the need to help the affected people.

She said that the education of the school-going children living in camps was badly affected.

Yousufzai said that she had visited a makeshift girls’ school and spent some time with the students. “Their morale was high and their spirit for receiving an education was commendable,” she added.

CM Shah said that the floods had damaged or destroyed 12,000 schools, apart from affecting the education of 2m children.

He urged her to visit schools and meet with more students once the water was drained so their spirit for gaining education could be inculcated. At this, the social activist said she would visit and meet students for highlighting the importance of education.

CM Shah thanked Yousufzai for her visit and presented her with various mementoes and gifts as tokens of respect and appreciation.

Malala’s second trip since 2012 attack

This is Yousafzai’s second visit to Pakistan since she survived a Taliban attack in Swat in 2012, which necessitated her departure to the UK for medical treatment. She landed in Karachi two days after the 10th anniversary of the attack.

Yousafzai last visited Pakistan in March 2018.

Her visit to Pakistan also coincides with the International Day of the Girl Child, which is observed every year on October 11 to recognise girls’ rights and the challenges they face — which aligns with the objectives of Yousafzai’s Malala Fund.

Yousafzai, who belongs to Swat, has been living in the United Kingdom since October 2012.

She was shifted from Pakistan to a hospital in Birmingham in a precarious condition after she had sustained a bullet in her head in a targeted attack by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Swat. She was on her way home in a school van with other girls after taking an exam when the TTP men opened fire on them. Two other girls also sustained gunshot wounds in the incident.

The attack on the schoolgirls had received widespread criticism at the national and international levels. Responding to the condemnation, the TTP had denounced Yousafzai, compelling her to stay back in the UK due to security concerns.

After her recovery, Yousafzai had announced the launching of a movement for the promotion of girls’ education.

In December 2014, Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi of India received the Nobel Peace Prize for risking their lives to fight for children’s rights.

In April 2017, United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres selected Yousafzai to be a UN messenger of peace, the highest honour bestowed by the UN chief on a global citizen.

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