Thursday Jul 12, 2018
KARACHI/RIO DE JANEIRO: As Pakistan's adored activist Malala Yousafzai tours Brazil, marking her first visit to Latin America, to kick off the expansion of her education charity, famed author Paulo Coelho tweeted a message of good wishes to her.
"I don't want to ask anything, but to say loud a clear THANK YOU," Coelho wrote in response to an #AskMalala activity the women's rights activist started after she landed in South America.
"You are an example for children, teenagers and adults alike. May your path be blessed," he wrote.
Malala, like so many other Pakistanis, turned out to be a fan of the Brazilian-born novelist, responding with: "Paulo, your words have inspired me for many years. I am so often asked my favorite book and I always say The Alchemist.
"I’m so honored to be in your beautiful country," she wrote.
Her aim in Brazil, the region's largest economy, is to advocate for more public spending on education — a tall task after the country passed a constitutional amendment freezing federal spending in real terms for two decades in order to reduce public debt.
She also hopes to have an estimated 1.5 million girls return to the classroom, with a special focus on minority groups that lag behind white children on key indicators like literacy and secondary school completion.
The young change leader also had a lot of other good advice.
Stressing that young women should focus on their lives instead of growing up faster than their male counterparts, she said: "Girls should tell their leaders what they need to achieve their goals and continue using their voices until they are heard. Never give up."
She also informed her followers that she had a meeting with "girl footballers on the beach" in Brazil's capital.
"They tell me that sport helps them deal with difficulties in their lives and gives them confidence. We should support women athletes so girls have more role models.
To another fan, she spoke about her time in the Latin American country.
"I loved Salvador! We spent a great time walking the streets, meeting people, learning about their stories and listening to incredible music," she wrote.
But even she was not spared from the FIFA World Cup mania when a user asked how she felt "about England losing the World Cup" because apparently, "the people need to know".
She only responded with very disappointed and crying-face emojis.
Malala, who, in 2014, was made the world's youngest Nobel laureate for her work with her foundation, returned home to Pakistan earlier this year for the first time since a Taliban gunman shot her in the head in 2012 over her blog advocating girls' education.