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Malala Yousafzai celebrates her birthday with #booksnotbullets initiative

The Pakistani activist wants world leaders to choose education over military spending

By Andrea Tim | Published: 8 Jul 2015

Books Not Bullets
Photo: TPG Images

Malala Yousafzai turns 18 this Sunday, but instead of the typical 18-year-old's birthday wish for a car, shopping spree or an iPhone, she wants free education for children everywhere. She has started the #BooksNotBullets action hashtag, urging world leaders to not just declare their commitment to providing quality education for children, but to actually invest in the efforts.

A report that was posted on the Malala Fund Blog found that "12 years of universal fee-free primary and secondary education will cost an estimated US$340 billion per year through 2030. The current funding shortfall is $39 billion – equivalent to just eight days of global military spending."

"If the whole world stopped spending money on the military for just eight days, we could provide 12 years of free, quality education to every child on the planet," tweeted the Malala Fund. That's a lot of money better spent getting children to go to school and better their future.

"Books are a better investment in our future than bullets," said the Nobel Prize winner, whose documentary about her comes out this October. "Books, not bullets, will pave the path towards peace and prosperity."

On another note, happy birthday, Malala.

Related: Watch the trailer for 'He Named Me Malala'


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