/ by Samantha Duenas

 recently i read “i am malala,” the memoir of a young pakistani girl named malala yousafzai. she made international headlines a few years ago when she was shot in the head by the taliban while standing up for girls’ education. in reading her story, i was not only touched by her miraculous survival, but by her unapologetic courage leading up to a near death experience, and her ongoing dedication after it.  one tremendous fight to survive, one nobel peace prize, and a slew of awards and interviews later, malala now has a sturdy platform to share her message. however there was a time when she faced so much adversity, danger, and uncertainty of who was listening and if her voice would ever be heard. and that is the raw courage that inspires me. i hope to ever be as brave with what i want to share with the world.  malala’s passion for education resonates with me. unlike malala, i was fortunate to grow up in los angeles where it is legal for girls to attend school. school isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of valuable life lessons that the classroom does not teach, but i loved my school experience. it was a safe place for me to access a broad range of knowledge, actively participate in discussion, compete in sports, make friends, learn about people. it was a safe place for me to make mistakes and improve. i owe a lot of my own confidence, work ethic, and sense of possibility to my days in school.  i consider myself a budding education activist. the fact that there are places in the world that deny children especially girls the choice to access an education breaks my heart. students in developing nations are faced with difficult learning conditions and lack of resources. over the past couple of years i have been able to visit schools while on dj tours, and have been finding ways to get involved. last year we raised over $5000 for my best friend kym’s “bigay puso” holiday celebration for underserved students in the philippines.  this year, i will be making a make a donation to  MALALA FUND , malala’s foundation dedicated to funding educations for girls facing discrimination, poverty, and war. my entire merch archive is now live in my shop, and 100% of merch sales will be donated to this cause.  thanks for taking the time to read and happy holidays!

recently i read “i am malala,” the memoir of a young pakistani girl named malala yousafzai. she made international headlines a few years ago when she was shot in the head by the taliban while standing up for girls’ education. in reading her story, i was not only touched by her miraculous survival, but by her unapologetic courage leading up to a near death experience, and her ongoing dedication after it.

one tremendous fight to survive, one nobel peace prize, and a slew of awards and interviews later, malala now has a sturdy platform to share her message. however there was a time when she faced so much adversity, danger, and uncertainty of who was listening and if her voice would ever be heard. and that is the raw courage that inspires me. i hope to ever be as brave with what i want to share with the world.

malala’s passion for education resonates with me. unlike malala, i was fortunate to grow up in los angeles where it is legal for girls to attend school. school isn’t for everyone, and there are plenty of valuable life lessons that the classroom does not teach, but i loved my school experience. it was a safe place for me to access a broad range of knowledge, actively participate in discussion, compete in sports, make friends, learn about people. it was a safe place for me to make mistakes and improve. i owe a lot of my own confidence, work ethic, and sense of possibility to my days in school.

i consider myself a budding education activist. the fact that there are places in the world that deny children especially girls the choice to access an education breaks my heart. students in developing nations are faced with difficult learning conditions and lack of resources. over the past couple of years i have been able to visit schools while on dj tours, and have been finding ways to get involved. last year we raised over $5000 for my best friend kym’s “bigay puso” holiday celebration for underserved students in the philippines.

this year, i will be making a make a donation to MALALA FUND, malala’s foundation dedicated to funding educations for girls facing discrimination, poverty, and war. my entire merch archive is now live in my shop, and 100% of merch sales will be donated to this cause.

thanks for taking the time to read and happy holidays!