Forbes Senior Online Editor Caroline Howard starts this featured session off by requesting that Shiza Shahid retells the vivid story of her childhood in the capital of Northern Pakistan. Growing up in the city of Islamabad, Shiza recounts her childhood being filled with memories and experiences that would shape her future and inspire her to help young girls get the education they deserve. Having a quality education was a high priority in her household, so Shahid’s parents worked hard to put her in schools that afforded her opportunities the government, at the time, did not. This early onset of education she was fortunate to receive, would later set her up for a full ride to Stanford University in California and a life dedicated to making the same opportunities available to young girls and others.
What Led to Pursuing Girls’ Education
Shahid recalls at one point her peers deemed her as being too serious; when in actuality, it was her passion for helping others back home that fueled her desire to get started in social entrepreneurship the first chance she got. From the get-go, she was ready to strategize and create global change. Between her third and fourth year at Stanford, she traveled to the Swat Valley in Pakistan, not far from where she grew up, to teach a group of girls the importance of education, in the midst of education being banned from them. Of those 26 girls, one was Malala Yousafzai; herself and others likely having to pretend to be younger than they were to get educated, as was the case for many girls.
Grassroots mobilization, advocacy, campaigning, and activism, to name a few, were some of the efforts put forth by a young Shahid that laid the foundation for her to become the social entrepreneur she is today. In the above-featured session, she reveals with fervor the desire she had to do these things at scale.
“I’m really excited to put my weight behind really impactful, driven, smart social entrepreneurs driving social change; going back to my passion for scalable impact. Finding those who are leading change on the frontlines, funding them, supporting them through access to mentors, networks, through support in getting publicity,”
Through her efforts to improve the feasibility of education, Shahid definitely sets herself up for success when it comes to having a positive scalable impact. Watch her 2015 featured session at our Austin, TX, education conference to see how she reconnected with Malala later in life, co-founded the Malala Fund to help support girls’ education.
What Shahid says were “turbulent times” growing up for her, some girls today still, unfortunately, experience with regards to their education. Depending on where you live: child labor, early marriage, conflict, cost, gender bias, natural disaster, poor quality of educational material and health are some of the things stopping girls from getting an education. And if that wasn’t enough, today, Shiza Shahid is still as busy as a bee in the realm of advancing girls’ education. She currently is the co-founder of Now Ventures, who promises to invest in technology startups whose founding teams are aiming to solve the world’s most diverse set of problems. A true woman of her word, this trails back to Shahid’s desire to continue to help the people in the field getting the work done, but need help to do so effectively.
Shiza Shahid, SXSW EDU 2015 Featured Session | Empowering Girls and Women to Lead
Sixty-six million girls around the world are out of school. Without education, they are trapped in a cycle of poverty. Driven by the work of recent Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai, the Malala Fund aims to stop the cycle by empowering girls to achieve their potential through education. This session will highlight the importance of empowering young girls and women to lead through the lens of the Malala Fund .
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