Happy Birthday Malala

Happy 17th Birthday, Malala!

I love seeing the journey that you have begun, and I look forward to seeing where your path takes you.  I hope that you and your father will see many more double rainbows along the way!This trip to Kenya and the incredible schools we saw being built (and helped build!) there will always be a special memory for me.

*In Chinese culture, red symbolizes the feet and violet represents the head.
So a primary rainbow appears to illustrate a human descending from heaven.

The secondary arc has reversed colors, with red on the bottom and the violet on top, 
so it represents the ascending from the material earth to heaven.

Therefore, seeing a double rainbow is considered a very auspicious occasion,
one that seemed appropriate to send on your birthday.

#behind the scenes story:

We spent a week working together in Kenya: the Malala Fund team, a Free the Children team, and Davis Guggenheim and his film crew , who are working on a documentary about her to be released next year. 

Typically we were eating breakfast at 6am and on the road at 7 to head to one of the local schools that Free the Children had built.  By the time we arrived, the girls were already in class.  They were happy to meet Malala and have her join them in class.  We met many girls, heard many stories and shared many of our own over the week.  We had limited contact with the world for that week (wi-fi in one tent only) and it was a beautiful experience.

On our last day, most of us were almost too tired to go on a safari, but it seemed a shame to be so close and not go....and we were well rewarded.  We saw all of the usual suspects: zebras, warthogs, gazelle, 2 cheetahs, a sleeping lion, giraffe....everything but elephants.  Suddenly, it began to rain.  To pour.  We began to head back, exhausted but happy.  Then just as suddenly, the rain stopped.  The dark clouds remained, but the sun broke through.  As the photographer on the team, I was on the lookout for anything to photograph.....because the light was truly spectacular.  Then came the double rainbow (more than I could have asked for!).  We stopped the cars.  Our guides were nervous to let us out....but we had Masai warriors with us, so we feared nothing.

This brilliant double rainbow appeared for about a minute.  We had just enough time to grab a few photos (a group shot as well, though the rainbows were fading). Indeed we could see both ends of these glorious rainbows.  It rained most of the way back, and the slippery mud roads were frightening in places (we thought our car was going to flip in one gulley).....but we smiled for the entire journey.

More about Double Rainbows.

I asked my friend Elizabeth MacLeod for her insight about double rainbows.  I got SO much more than I could have imagined.  This deserves an entire post.... but for now, it rests here:
Here are a few more insights into double rainbows for you:
The double rainbow is the infinite inside the infinite. The second rainbow is a reflection of the first, which also is a reflection. The awe of the reflection signifies the possible transformation one could see in their lives. Because a rainbow is so inspiring and can alter you with just viewing one, the transformation that can take place when seeing too, or capturing two can take you quickly from one state of being to another. You are moving inside to the other realm and the other realm is letting you see it for a moment.
The possibilities that come from something like this for the human experience is that of beauty, that of life, that of the possibilities that exist that we don't always know about or want to see. When we see the double rainbow, it could mean that much transformation is occurring, BUT… when captured on film for another to view, there is an opportunity to be of service to another as you can help them to transform and help them to see the possibility, which is sometimes more important than that the actual transformation.

Without the possibility for such magic to occur, one can remain stuck in thinking it's not possible. And that is such a shame.

To see a double rainbow and photograph it brings a pleasure the ordinary person finds difficult to achieve. So for a brief moment, an opening can occur, providing a vehicle for you or someone to be catapulted into another realm of beauty, another realm of happiness or even, sent into the realm of possibility. For some, it might just open the door to magic.

And when that happens, even just with one person, the whole world shifts a little, making it somewhat of a potent moment. Potent in intention. Potent in accumulation. Potent in accreditation that something beyond what we know and beyond what we understand exists.

With that, we can open into "then there must be possibility" and that is really the meaning here when people talk of double rainbows and transformation.

It is a blessed event. Spiritual and material in nature. It open this door. and widens possibility.  When we talk of widen possibility, we can then be open to miracles. And once we see a miracle, then we can become the miracle as well. That is the beauty of a double rainbow.


Then add Malala. She is a miracle. In this picture, 2 loves. 2 reflections of love. A rainbow is individual drops of rain reflecting. To have Malala here, with her father, a reflection of love . .. and to see the rainbows in the background with all the individual drops of rain creating a beautiful, not one, but two rainbows, means so much possibility and so many miracles can take place in the world as there are many watching.

To me, it symbolizes individuals transforming in light of all that has happened, but that we are all one in many colours, races religions. We have bypassed all of this with this young girl and her profound impact on the world.

It's like to me a rain drop that falls in the ocean and becomes one with the ocean, but yet still remains a drop. that's what this picture feels like to me. Does that make any sense?

It's like the whole world is with her, on a spiritual plane and an earthly plane. For a double rainbow to be present here, with her, and her father, that's transformation in it's biggest form. And we are all witnessing it and can be present to it.  It's also beautiful.

And you are the catalyst for our seeing this…

-Elizabeth MacLeod,  Founder and Author at Wild Woman Enchanted


  1. Tanya, not only are you a gifted photographer, you are a gifted writer. You have a beautiful way of expressing your message to Malala. Also, enjoyed reading Elizabeth's explanation of the meaning of the double rainbow. It makes one think about the moment and how meaningful it really is.

  2. Such a wonderful gift for Malala, for her dad, for you and for us! The universe is surely agreeing with the double rainbows for the moment!

  3. What a precious moment! Happy happy birthday Malala, may this joyful rainbow moment be the beginning of a wonderful journey.

  4. Beautiful! Happy birthday Malala - may you always be shining x

  5. Happy Birthday Malala! You are such an amazing person, you have given faith and inspiration to thousands of people around the world, myself included. Looking up to you with love and gratitude on your birthday.

  6. Happy Birthday Beautiful Malala - You are truly an inspiration, so young, so wise, so courageous and beautiful from the inside out - Wishing you a Beautiful and Blessed Birthday and may your Light continue to shine brightly darling - Much Love ♡ xx

  7. Happy Birthday Malala! Thank you for your inspiration! Wishing you a beautiful year around the Sun! May the Angels watch over you always. “There was a star danced, and under that was I born. ” - Shakespeare All my love, Maggie

  8. What a beautiful expression of nature, and of writing, for your birthday, Malala. What you are doing for Girls' Education is so vitally important to changing the world for the better. Infinite double rainbows for your birthday. Namaste, Tara

  9. Happy Birthday Malala, Your inspiration bridges Heaven and Earth. What is possible in Nature is possible for the world. Thank you for your voice and dedication for educating children. Much love, Barbara

  10. Happy Birthday Malala! Rainbows are following you..beautiful!

  11. My dear Malala. Happy, Happy Birthday. May the miracles of double rainbows continue to follow you where ever you go. Blessings abundant to you dear one. xo

  12. Wow, this gives me goosebumps. So very powerful. Happy birthday Malala! Thank you for your strength.

  13. Happy Birthday Malala! Thanks so much for sharing this inredible journey- absolutely beautiful!

  14. Thank you for sharing this and happy birthday Malala! What a wonderful gift to have the double rainbow and a beautiful way to capture it and celebrate!

  15. such a beautiful photograph, tanya - so much radiance shining forth. and thank you for the beautiful rainbow lesson, elizabeth.