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Inspirational Yarn – Malala

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Our fourth Yarn tone is named Malala after Malala Yousafzai.

Malala is known to most people as the fifteen year old Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the face for wanting an education. Surviving being shot in the face didn’t deter Malala from speaking out for girls education which just shows the determination of Malala and her family.

Perhaps not so well known is that Malala’s activism for girls education didn’t start on that bus ride home at 15, but started much earlier as an anonymous 11 year old blogger for the BBC Urdu website.

Her father was an educator and encouraged Malala to get her education because he remembered growing up in a world where his sisters unable to be educated. He wanted more for his daughter and put her name forward to write the anonymous blog which would describe life under Taliban rule.

Malala wrote anonymously until the end it seemed freedom had come and girls were allowed to attend school again.

After the Taliban returned her family were split up and Malala ended up living with relatives, then the New York Times made a documentary about Malala and as she became more known her anonymity began to end.

With the news that again the Taliban had been forced out of their home the family returned, but now the death threats arrived. Both Malala and her father received death threats for their support of women’s education.

The eventual shooting happened as Malala travelled home from taking an exam. A gunman got on the bus and asked Malala to identify herself otherwise all the girls would be shot. She was then identified and shot in the face.

‘I want every girl to know that her voice can change the world’

Malala Yousafzai – Activist

I don’t think there is need to say more about why Malala is an inspiration, although there is a lot more that can be said. To be as young as eleven and knowingly put your life on the line to make the world better for yourself and others is courage beyond measure.

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Inspirational Yarns – Shelby

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Shelby is the name of our third yarn tone and is named after Shelby Sinar.

Shelby is a women’s wrestler for UK Womens Wrestling, perhaps not the most popular of sports and Shelby might never be a household name or olympic medal winner.

However, it takes real courage to get into a ring and use quick thinking and athletic skill to win matches. To do all that whilst being in a created personna too, which I think is a skill that’s not given enough credit for.

But what makes Shelby inspirational for me is her courage to do this while being a larger woman than the stereotypical athlete. Shelby fights under her characters name of the Plus-Sized Princess.

‘For years they told me I wasn’t an athlete, that I couldn’t do sports. I find certain things difficult, but I will never let someone tell me that I can’t do it.’

Shelby Sinar – Female Wrestler

As a plus sized woman I’ve experienced the bullying, the comments from strangers who feel it’s acceptable to comment on my size or perceived lifestyle. The fear that someone is just waiting to put me down, even as I write this blog post I’m aware that someone most likely is going to make a comment about larger people because it’s a bullies last stand.

To be a larger woman and put yourself out in public is one of societies last taboos, but let’s be honest, I don’t know too many thinner women who can throw a full sized person around like Shelby does which just proves size isn’t everything.

To be a female wrestler is a tough enough sport, but to do it with the courage of Shelby Sinar, to be the powerful woman she chooses to be, is why she is an inspirational woman.

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Inspirational Yarn – Sue

Dr Sue Black is best known as a computer scientist, a University lecturer and researcher. The leading force behind the renovation of Bletchley Park, the World War II centre for decrypting enemy messages and the woman behind #techmums, teaching women computer skills in the belief that teaching mothers computer skills in turn teaches their children and eventually teaches the community.

That alone is a reason to name a yarn shade after Sue, but there’s so much more to her that I think has seen her being awarded an OBE and many awards for computer science.

Her passion for empowering women to understand technology and social media, especially in some of the more deprived parts of the country also helps encourage women who perhaps will find self confidence in learning skills they might have felt surpassed them.

 

‘Get out there and do the things you want to do.

You’ve only got one life so

Go for it!’

– Dr Sue Black OBE, FBCS, FRSA

 

But for me, what really inspires me is that Sue comes from humble beginnings.

Sue left school at 16, got married at 20 and by age 23 had three children.

By the age of 25 she was a single mother of three children living in a women’s refuge in Brixton.

She enrolled in night school and then university, eventually becoming a university lecturer. Education was her transport for getting the career she wanted and the ability to change her life for the better.

For myself, as someone who came late to appreciating education, I found university often very difficult, but to do a day at university while caring for three children is just an example of the strength Sue must have had. She overcame difficult challenges and proved that just because a person doesn’t succeed in high school, doesn’t mean education has closed its door.

Sue inspires those of us who have felt ‘less than’ because we didn’t have the right start. Her determination to get an education and then to work so hard to make sure that she passes on her education to others is what makes her an inspiration.

Click here to hear Sue Black Speaking at the Inspirefest conference.

In a similar way, dolls can be used to inspire children through play and can transcend all restraints of society. No one ever tells a doll she can’t be a scientist because she didn’t get the right qualification, a doll simply becomes a scientist. Through the dolls limitless career choices a child can dream dreams beyond the realms of her community or family status.

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