Apple Partners with Malala Fund to Help Empower Latin American Girls to Go High Tech

By Jim Barber 7/19/18 |

A student from Apple Developer Academy in Rio shows her work to Malala Yousafzai — photo courtesy of Apple.

Apple has partnered with The Malala Fund to help advance and enhance educational opportunities for girls in Central and South America.

A number of current students and alumni from the 10 Apple Developer Academies in Brazil will develop and implement a range of apps to empower girls and encourage them to engage with the high-tech sector and higher education in general.

As well, these apps and related services will be utilized to encourage teachers and policymakers to make girls’ education a priority through education advocacy, school enrolment initiatives and specific technical skills development programs.

“My hope is that every girl, from Rio to Riyadh, can be free to choose her own future,” Nobel Peace Prize winner and girls’ education activist Malala Yousafzai said in a joint press statement.

 “Whether she wants to be a developer, a pilot, a dancer or a politician, education is the best path to a brighter future. By tapping into Apple’s network of student developers, Malala Fund will gain access to new tools to support our mission of free, safe quality education. The students in Apple’s Developer Academy share my passion for improving the world around us, and I am eager to see their innovative ideas to help girls in Brazil and across the globe.”

Her sentiments were echoed in the release by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

“We share Malala’s goal of getting more girls into quality education and are thrilled to be deepening our partnership with Malala Fund by mobilizing thousands of Apple Developer Academy students and alumni across Brazil,” he said.

“Apple has been committed to education since day one, and we can’t wait to see what our creative student developers come up with to help Malala Fund, make a difference for girls around the world.”

Essentially, a challenge was laid before the Apple Developer Academy’s Brazilian team to create apps to achieve the objectives enumerated above and also to help develop more effective and efficient ways for Malala Fund’s network of champions around the world to share and communicate in a safe and secure manner.

Dubbed the Gulmakai Network, these local education advocates are funded by Malala Fund to establish a host of programs and services in nations around the world where girls are most unlikely to have access to secondary education or beyond. Gulmakai was the pseudonym used by Malala when she wrote a blog for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) first as an 11-year-old, giving the outside world a terrifying glimpse of life under the Taliban regime.

Now 21 and a student at The University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, Malala — universally known by her first name — grew up with her father, Ziauddin, a teacher, engendering a love of learning in his daughter. The Taliban took over their community in 2008, when Malala was 11 and would no longer allow girls to go to school – but she persisted. She began to speak out and used the BBC blog to become a voice for the voiceless girls under yoke of Taliban oppression. In October 2012, she was shot in the face by a Taliban gunman on her school bus. She survived after being rushed to hospital in Birmingham, England for life-saving surgery.

Malala Yousafzai and a student from Rio's Apple Developer Academy — photo courtesy of Apple.
Malala  soon became the embodiment of resistance to the Taliban brand of fundamentalism and an outspoken and in-demand speaker on issues of girls’ rights and the transformative importance of educating girls. She and her father established Malala Fund in 2013, and the next year she became a Nobel laureate. Besides its expansion into Latin America, the Malala Fund also has Gulmakai champions in Afghanistan, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey.

The Apple Developer Academies are also a relatively new initiative, as the global tech firm began partnering with post-secondary institutions throughout the world to bring together top-calibre international students who have intentions of being developers and/or entrepreneurs to work under the tutelage of world-class experts.

Bringing together such an innovative and life-changing program with an organization that has a similarly positive and global mandate as Malala Fund was a natural process according to both parties.

According to Apple, since establishing their first Academies in Brazil, more than 3,000 students have gone through the program, with 500 currently enrolled in the 10 sites throughout the South American nation. Apple is also partnering with Malala Fund on similar initiatives in India as the fund’s first Laureate partner. Both organizations have set an initial target of extending new educational opportunities at the secondary level to at least 100,000 girls in both nations.


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