Malala Yousafzai, the activist schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, has called on the British Government to support funding for education in developing countries.
The 16-year-old campaigner has been living in England after being treated for life-threatening injuries when her calls for equal rights angered militants in her homeland of Pakistan.
She has now written an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron in which she calls on him to back a four-year scheme delivering basic schooling in some of the world’s poorest nations.
Malala has risen to prominence as an activist and education campaigner since she survived an assassination attempt in October 2012, and will be attending the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) replenishment conference in Brussels next week alongside world leaders.
In her letter to Mr Cameron, she said Britain’s commitment to the cause - which would see a pledge to fund education in 66 developing countries - would likely trigger other democracies to follow. She said: “We need to increase education budgets so that all children can go to school, especially girls like me. With increased support from countries like yours for GPE, I believe every child can learn.”
Malala said the issue had been brought into sharp focus by the recent kidnapping and continued imprisonment of 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by the militant group Boko Haram.
She said: “The UK is such a leader in supporting girls and education for all, and I know that your pledge at the conference would help bring similar commitments from others.
“I hope you will call your representatives for the conference and ask them to do their very best.”
She added: “I know what countries like the UK do at summits has the power to help girls like me in Pakistan, Nigeria or Afghanistan. Your pledge will mean real girls will learn and grow.
“It is not just a number on a paper, it is our future. I am grateful for your leadership in helping millions more children learn and reach their potential. I hope you will be my friend in this fight.”