A Chippenham girl is embarking on a sponsored walk to help women’s education in Pakistan after learning about the plight of a schoolgirl shot by the Taliban.
Benita Culshaw, 12, will walk ten miles from Bristol to Bath along the old railway line to raise money for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai is recovering after the attack on October 9.
The hospital has started a fund to support schools for girls in Pakistan.
Benita, who reads the rights campaigner’s blog entries about life under the Taliban, said she was shocked by the shooting.
“I heard about what happened to Malala on the news,” she said.
“It was really shocking, but when I read about her life I saw just how different it is to ours.
“We are lucky to live here where no-one tells us what we can say or wear or stops us going to school, and it is sad that someone has to be shot to remind us that it isn’t true elsewhere.
“She must have known she was in danger all the time. She is very brave. I am about the same age and I would be scared if I was in her position.
“I wanted to do something to contribute and thought a walk would be good – it is a bit more challenging than riding a bike.”
Benita, who attends The Corsham School, will be accompanied on the walk by her eight-year-old brother, Arthur, and mum and dad, Lisa and Aidan, all of Corsham Road.
It will take place on Armistice Day, November 11, and Mrs Culshaw said they are hoping people will join in the walk as it proceeds throughout the day.
She said: “We thought Armistice Day would be appropriate as it remembers the men and women who have fought for the freedoms we take for granted. When we stop for two minutes silence we will be remembering them, but also all the people around the world who are not so lucky as us and still suffer oppression.
“Benita was shocked when she read about how few girls are in education around the world, about 30 per cent, and when she heard someone had shot a schoolgirl for campaigning she was very upset.
“She did a ten-mile cycle ride in 2010 to support the Disasters Emergency Committee’s efforts for the floods in Pakistan, so she thought it would be a good opportunity to do something again.”
The walk will start at the Ridgeway Road entrance to the old railway walk at 10am.
There will be a stop for lunch at the Avon Valley Railway Café at 12.30pm.
For more information about the walk, or to make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/teams/ Malala