Two teenagers a world apart, but with one objective in mind, have inspired the Okanagan College Faculty Association (OCFA) to support international efforts to educate girls.
At its November meeting, members of the OCFA condemned the recent Taliban shooting of 15-year-old student Malala Yousafzai for being a vocal proponent of education for girls in Pakistan.
The OCFA also voted to donate $1,000 to the Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan – a non-profit society launched by 15-year-old Alaina Podmorow from Kelowna to help educate girls in Afghanistan as a way to peace.
“We’re putting our money where our hearts are,” said History professor Howard Hisdal, who made both resolutions.
“These girls are shining examples of leadership. They are showing vision and courage, and to a certain extent they are accomplishing what some of our Western governments haven’t managed to do so well,” Hisdal said.
Hisdal, who also serves in the Canadian military as a reservist, said some of his friends in the forces have been to Afghanistan and believe change rests with the future of women there.
“One of my female military colleagues said the women continue to be kept in ignorance,” he said. “The best chance for long-term success in these campaigns is the education of women.”
English Professor Norah Bowman-Broz, who sits on the OCFA Council as the Status of Women representative, said supporting the Little Women non-profit organization is a particularly relevant and contemporary donation.
“Broadly speaking, we want to eliminate gender inequities around the world, and in Canada as well,” she said. “It’s also important to us that Little Women is a secular charity. This is about valuing education for everyone.”
OCFA president Sharon Josephson said contributing to Little Women underlines the faculty’s commitment to the principles of education, human rights and democracy – especially for those who are less advantaged, regardless of where they live.
“This is something we can be proud of,” Hisdal said.
The Okanagan College Faculty Association represents approximately 275 faculty members of Okanagan College.