July 14th, 2014

Malala Yousafzai talks to CNN’s Isha Sesay about #BringBackOurGirls, turning 17

Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai sits down with CNN’s Isha Sesay (@IshaSesayCNN) in Abuja to discuss her meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan about the 200+ girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok, Nigeria more than 90 days ago.

On what President Jonathan told her
“He made me two promises. The first one he made was that he’d definitely meet the parents of those girls and listen to what the parents say. It’s very important because the parents need support, and he hasn’t met the parents yet so it would be the first meeting. It’s a great success for me because I want to raise the voices of those parents.

The second promise was that he would make sure these girls are soon released, and he would try his best. He said that he has many solutions, and he would find the best solution for it.”

On cruelty of Boko Haram
“In Swat, it’s a very difficult situation of Talibanization and terrorism where we were not allowed to go to school and we are girls. Education was totally banned and women were not allowed to go to market.

But here, the situation is — is like — it’s the same. They are against education, but here they — they seem like more cruel. They have crossed the limits of cruelty and harshness. And we see that girls are now deprived of their families. They are away from their homes and it’s — it’s — I can’t even imagine it. And those girls are suffering through it.”

On turning 17
“I’m 17 and I feel that I have more and more responsibility as I grow older. I can see myself more responsible, and I think that I should continue my campaign for girls education as well as focus on my education because I believe that education will empower me and it will strengthen me to give me more and more courage.”

WATCH THE INTERVIEW HERE: http://cnn.it/1yinmkC 

Full transcript after the jump.

2p CNNi Europe Aircheck

MALALA YOUSAFZAI, EDUCATION ACTIVIST: Well, it was very important for me to meet the president, because I heard so many complaints from people. And they were saying that bring their call cards, bring their call cards. And they were really worried about their daughters as I met parents and the girls who escaped from the kidnapping.

And I wanted to take their voice and say to the president — and I told him that I’m representing the people of Nigeria and those parents of those girls.

He made me two promises. The first one that he made was that he will definitely meet the parents of those girls and he would, uh, listen to what the parents say. It’s very important, because the parents need support. And he hasn’t met the parents yet, so it will be the first meeting with the parents of those girls.

And it’s a great — it’s a great success for me, because I want to raise the voices of those parents. And I’m hopeful that the president would listen to their voices.

And as the second promise was that he would make sure that these girls are soon relieved and he would try his best. He said that he has many solutions, he would find the best solution for it and they will try their best.

ISHA SESAY, CNNI CORRESPONDENT: So let me be clear, did you come away convinced that he’s taking the abductions of these girls seriously?

MALALA: He was very serious and he was a little bit emotional, as well. And he said — he said that he feels the same for the girls as he feels for his daughters.

So as far as I have heard from his words, he was very worried about it and but he said that he would make sure that the girls are released soon.

Now it depends in how many times does he work. But I will still be counting the days, how many days are passing every day. And I will still continue my campaign. I’m not here to wait for the president and to ask him.

We all are going to continue this campaign and we are going to say bring the their call cards until these girls are released.

(END VIDEO TAPE)

SESAY: Now, Fionnuala, we’re having a couple of technical difficulties out here in the field, but that’s how it goes.

You know, Malala very passionate about conveying to the president the frustration and the fears of these family members.

But, you know, I had to ask her, the fact that more than 90 days have gone by, Fionnuala, and these girls still haven’t been returned to their families. I had to — to ask her her feelings about that and whether she was shocked by all of this — all of this as it has played out in these past three months.

Take a listen to what she had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MALALA: When I heard the news of the abduction of more than 200 girls, I was shocked. I could never even imagine girls being abducted by the so-called Boko Haram. And would there even know in what conditions they would be.

And now, in the next week, 100 days would be passed and it’s such a difficult situation which we can’t even imagine.

In Swat, it’s a very difficult situation of Talibanization and terrorism where we were not allowed to go to school and we are girls. Education was totally banned and women were not allowed to go to market.

But here, the situation is — is like — it’s the same. They are against education, but here they — they seem like more cruel. They have crossed the limits of cruelty and harshness.

And we see that girls are now deprived of their families. They are away from their homes and it’s — it’s — I can’t even imagine it. And those girls are suffering through it.

SESAY: You have become the leading voice for girls’ rights around the world. You only just turned 17 and it’s quite the responsibility.

How do you cope with it all?

MALALA: Well, I’m 17. I feel that I have more and more responsibility as I grow older. I can see myself more responsible. And I think that I should continue my campaign for girls’ education, as well as I should focus on my education, because I believe that education will empower me and it will strengthen me, it will give me more and more courage, and as well as to do advocacy to tell the leaders that they should assume their responsibility. People select them, people elect them because people believe that they would listen to them.

END