illustrated portrait of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai

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What did Malala observe on her way to the dump?

Quick answer:

At the dump, Malala saw a young girl sorting trash into piles. The girl had matted hair and cold sores all over her skin. Malala also saw young boys using magnets to find metal objects in the mountain of trash.

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The text tells us that Malala didn't like going to the dump. Essentially, the dump was an abandoned piece of land used as an informal dumping ground.

Since the village of Swat offered no trash collection services, the people of the region had to rely on the dump. Malala relates that the dump was a smelly place and that crows regularly flew overhead. One day, Malala's mother asked her to throw away some potato peels and eggshells.

At the dump, Malala quickly threw the kitchen scraps onto the mountain of rotting food. As she did so, she saw something move out of the corner of her eye. The moving object turned out to be a young girl about Malala's age.

The girl had a large sack with her and was sorting trash into piles. There were piles for bottle tops, glass objects, paper, and cans. Malala could also see a group of boys using magnets to fish for metal objects in the mountain of trash.

Later, Malala talked to her father about the "scavenger children" and was told that the children often sold their findings for money. Many of the children used this income to help feed their families.

Because of his compassionate nature, Malala's father often took in several children from impoverished families. He also gave these children free places at his school. His goal was to leverage education to lift the poorest families in Swat out of poverty.

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