Students at the Graduate College of Social Work will host a ‘UH Stands With Malala’ event on Tuesday to raise awareness of the continuing global injustice toward women pursuing an education.
As part of six students’ class assignment to advocate for a vulnerable group or raise awareness of a global issue, they chose to host this live art demonstration inspired by Malala’s bravery to support women’s education.
“Our grade is not contingent on how successful or how many people we get to the event,” said social work postgraduate Kathleen Stuart. “Our grade is in understanding how we worked together as a team and how well we were to implement the project. This isn’t about our grade. This is seeing how we, as a group, get through this process.”
The instructor of the global justice course is Aahba Brown with guest presentation and instruction by Nobel Peace Prize winner and social work professor Jody Williams. In previous years, groups hosted movie screenings where documentaries about global issues where shown, accompanied by panel discussions afterward. After facing several brick walls, Brown told the group to think outside the box.
“That was our idea too. We thought to bring “He Named Me Malala” on campus, which turned out to be extremely difficult,” social work postgraduate Claire Crawford said.
“Our professor really encouraged us to think outside the box and to do something a little different than movie screening. That’s where art, education, advocacy and storytelling all came together.”
During the event, Houston based artist Anat Ronen will craft a new mural of Malala to be housed at the University. Ronen has crafted over 500 murals located in various locations from Disney World to local churches; however, her most prominent Houston-based work is her Malala mural in the Heights.
“We used the resources we have here in Houston. We had talked about Malala as an inspiration, but we had to figure out how to bring her mission into our project,” Crawford said.
“We saw the mural in the Heights. Nowhere in the world has a mural like that, so why not use that to our advantage. We didn’t expect to call the artist and have her say ‘Yeah I’ll do a new painting for you’. We were able to use our resources and networking within the college to make our vision a reality.”
After receiving assistance from the Malala Foundation and other colleges on campus, the GCSW students will accept gently-used children’s and women’s clothing. A testimony of a girl empowered through education will be read every hour, a banner will be present for students to sign and ‘Take Action’ postcards from the Foundation will be provided to explain how people can get involved in Malala’s work.
The final call of action at the event will be the #UHStandsWithMalala pledge where students pledge to watch “He Named Me Malala,” a documentary about Malala’s journey.
“The whole purpose of this project is to advocate on behalf women who need education. For the purposes of this project, our audience was supposed to be University of Houston, but we can extend beyond that.” Crawford said. “This project is our vision on how to advocate.”
The event will be Tuesday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the lawn of GCSW, beside the Satellite.