Avaya StaffOctober 05, 2018

Avaya Devices for Diversity: Helping Break Barriers to Girls’ Education

One of the most inspirational stories I’ve read is about a young woman, Malala Yousafzai. Malala is a well-known Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. Her journey to the global icon she is today is one of courage, strength and perseverance.

Malala was born in a part of the world where girls are banned from attending school. She, with the support of her father, stood up to those in power, advocating that access to education is a basic human right of both boys and girls. On October 9, 2012, while coming home from school on a bus in the Swat District of Pakistan, 15-year-old Malala was shot by a gunman in retaliation for her activism. While the bullet struck Malala in the head, she recovered fully. This violent attempt on her life didn’t silence her voice, it empowered her spirit and today she remains a prominent activist for the right to education. “I don’t want to be thought of as the girl who was shot by the Taliban but as the girl who fought for education. This is the cause to which I want to devote my life,” she has said. Malala’s motivation is her unwavering belief that education can change the world. I believe she’s right.

Consider this: research provided by the United Nations has demonstrated that the education of girls and women is central to reducing poverty, promoting development, and addressing the world’s greatest challenges. While we also know that giving girls access to quality education is key to realizing global equality, 16 million girls ages 6-11 will still never start school. That is twice the number of boys.

These are facts we simply can’t ignore.

A Rallying Cry for Girls in Education

In support of girls who may have been denied an education because of who they are and where they’re born, Avaya has launched a Devices for Diversity campaign that supports our ongoing partnership with Save the Children, the international non-profit children’s organization. (My colleague Sara Broadbent has written a great piece about our work with Save the Children, which began in 2015 as part of our company’s annual Month of Giving.)

Here’s how it works: for every one of our multimedia devices sold for the remainder of 2018, a contribution will be made to Girls Educational Programming. Through this initiative, every dollar donated will help educate girls who may not otherwise have the chance to learn—changing the course of their lives, their children’s lives, and the future of their communities.

Our Devices for Diversity campaign is just one way we’re advancing a diverse, inclusive global workforce with a culture of belonging that leverages the backgrounds and perspectives of all employees, customers, partners, and communities to cultivate a higher performing organization. (Earlier this year, Jim Chirico announced his participation in the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion.)

We are delighted to continue our work with Save the Children and to know that together we’re helping to empower young girls—tomorrow’s leaders—with opportunities to learn, grow and achieve long-lasting independence. As Malala once stated so beautifully, “There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.”