Creating Genius Magazine Winter Issue - Page 52

* feature “I want every girl, every child, to be educated. Those without a voice will be heard.” Malala Yousafzai what really keeps up driving forward. CG: You’ve had a HUGE impact so far. When was this young fund founded? Shiza: The Malala Fund is only one year old. We are still a startup. People think we are much bigger than we are. We are a small team of incredible people who want to make a real difference in education. Operating out of New York City is also a great spot for us. It’s the intersection of media, philanthropy and innovation. CG: What challenges did you face getting it off the ground? Shiza: We face several challenges and we understand they can’t be solved overnight. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. When you’re in a startup it’s like driving a car while building it. It’s doing everything all at once. We need to constantly be thinking with this incredible platform, how to get the greatest amount of change and the greatest amount of impact. We focus on the strengths of our organization and develop a structure we need to be successful. The most important thing is to not get distracted by all the possibilities. We have to be incredibly focused and always supporting girls education. CG: You’re obviously very passionate about the Malala Fund and empowering girls. Shiza: Yes, I grew up and had great education but so many girls don’t have this opportunity. I know that when girls feel empowered through learning and through intervention, they are more likely to earn an income and have better lives. The Malala Fund focuses a lot on secondary education, which in Pakistan begins from grade nine and lasts for four years. There is a lot of work to do in this space because it has not gotten a lot of attention. Girls are dropping out quickly and often they get married instead. The silver bullet, in this case, is girls’ education. CG: Who are your partners and how do they fit in with the Malala Fund? Shiza: We work entirely with partners who support our goal of creating a world where every girl reache