Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner and activist for female education, conveyed the message of Afghan school girl, Foroutan Sotooda to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and US President Joe Biden.
Fifteen years old, Foratan was recently listed as one of the "25 most influential women of 2021" by the UK's Financial Times. She rose to fame after speaking at a gathering of local officials from the United Arab Emirates, calling on them to reopen girls' schools.
Yousafzai met Blinken and other officials in the State Department on Monday and read Foratan's letter and asked Blinken to pass it on to US President Joe Biden, the report said. In the letter, Foratan called on Blinken and Biden to help Afghan girls gain access to education.
"The longer schools and universities remain closed to girls, the more hope for our future fades. Girls' education is a powerful tool for bringing peace and security. If girls don't learn, Afghanistan will suffer too. As a girl and as a human being, I need you to know that I have rights. Women and girls have rights. Afghans have the right to live in peace, go to school, and play," Foratan's letter read, as shared by Yousafzai.
Malala also called on Blinken to support the education of Afghan girls at this critical time. Currently, Afghanistan is the only country where girls are banned from school, she said, according to the report.
"You mentioned that we're here to talk about equality in girls' education, but we know that Afghanistan right now is the only country where girls do not have access to secondary education," Yousafzai said.
In addition, she said, "They are prohibited from learning, and I have been working together with Afghan girls and women's activists, and there's this one message from them -- that they should be given the right to work, they should be able to go to school."