Malala Yousafzai has spoken out about the benefits of supporting women who may not have access to education.
The 21-year-old activist, who is the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, was speaking at an event in Edinburgh on Wednesday hosted by homelessness charity Social Bite, with whom she has just partnered.
“Educated girls have the power to transform our world,” she said. “But without a home or access to education, millions of refugee and displaced girls are unable to fulfil their potential.”
Yousafzai, who campaigns for female education around the world via her eponymous charity the Malala Fund, will work with the organisation on launching an international “sleep-out” campaign that will encourage thousands of people around the world to sleep on the streets on the same night to raise awareness for homelessness.
“I am excited to partner with Social Bite and have their support for Malala Fund’s work to get refugee girls get back in school,” she added.
Mass sleep-outs are a major part of Social Bite’s fundraising. The charity raised £3.6m with a similar event last December with participants in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Dundee.
This next campaign, which has been dubbed World’s Big Sleep-Out, will be its biggest yet, with the charity aiming to get 50,000 people to take part.
Other organisations that will be involved include UNICEF USA and the Institute of Global Homelessness.
Social Bite began as a sandwich shop in 2012 and has since evolved into a social enterprise consisting of five cafes in Scotland whose profits go towards putting an end to homelessness in Scotland.
Social Bite co-founder Josh Littlejohn MBE described Malala’s visit as an “honour”.
“Malala’s fight for girls’ education and the work her foundation does in supporting refugees and creating social justice is an inspiration,” he added.
“I’m thrilled that Malala’s visit marks the announcement of our World’s Big Sleep-Out campaign, to bring our ‘Sleep in the Park’ event concept to an international stage.
“We have seen the power of the events in Scotland in terms of raising significant funds to make a difference to homeless people and to shine the political spotlight on this issue.”
Social Bite will announce further details with regards to its World’s Big Sleep-Out campaign next month.