It can be safely said that there is no woman on this planet who returned from the door of death in the cause of advocacy for female education. The Indian subcontinent can be proud of such a guy who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman but luckily survived. She is none other then Malala Yousafzai. The teenage Pakistani girl is also the youngest person to receive the Noble Peace Prize.
Malala’s Early Life
Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12 1997. She was born in Mingora, located in Swat Valley in Pakistan. Her father’s name is Ziauddin Yousafzai. He was an educator and founded a school. Malala was a student there. Like other girls of her age Malala could spend her life in a simple way. But she was a bit different from other girls in one point. She became an advocate for girls education when she herself was still a child. Malala’s home town remained a popular tourist spot, known for it’s summer festivals. But along with the rise of Talibans the area began to change on October 9, 2012 Malala, then 15, was coming back from school by bus. A masked gunman boarded the bus and wanted to know which was Malala. He spotted her and shot at her. The Taliban’s were utterly against the female education. On the other hand, Malala demanded that girls be allowed to receive education which resulted in the Taliban issuing a death threat against her. She was shot in the head but survived.
The shot left her in a critical condition. She was flown to a military hospital in Peshawar. For her further treatment she was taken to Birmingham, England. She required multiple surgeries there, Fortunately she had suffered no major brain damage.
From March 2013 she began attending school in Birmingham.
Malala began studying at Oxford University. She became a graduate from there in 2020.
Malala will be remembered for ever for her advocacy for female education in her country as well as in the whole world. She demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. At a time the Taliban began attacking girls schools in swat. At that time Malala gave a speech in Peshawar in September 2008. The title of her talk was “ How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” She was only 11 years old then. From then on she has been continuing to speak out on the importance of female education. She began blogging for the BBC in support of female education. At that time she used the name Gul Makai. She received support from public. Her activism brought her a nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. She received Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize in the same year.
Malala At UN
On her 16th birthday in 2013 Malala gave a speech at the United Nations. In her speech she mainly focused on woman education and rights.
At her 2013 speech at the UN, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pronounced July 12- her birthday – ‘ Malala Day in honour of the young leader.
Malala delivered a speech at the UN. It was her, 16th birthday nine months after being shot by the Taliban. In it she said, “the terrorists though that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.
The extremists were, and they are, afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of woman. Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. Malala said in her speech.
In reply to Malala’s speech, Ban Ki-moon, then the Secretary- General, pronounced July 12- Malala’s birthday ‘Malala Day’ in honour of the young leaders activism to ensure education for all children.
Prizes and Awards Received
Malala received many awards. She received the Shakharov Prize for Freedom of thought in October, with Noble Peace Prize at Just 17. The co- recepient of the same Prize was Indian children rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.
In April 2017, UN Secretary General Antonio Guturres appointed Malala as a UN Messenger of peace to promote girls education.
She was also given honorary Canadian citizenship in April 2017.
Malala on Girl’s Education
A fund named after her – Malala Fund was launched by herself and her father. The Fund works to ensure girls around the world for access of free, safe, quality education.
Malala opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. The school admitted about 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18. Its expenses are covered by the Malala Fund. On her 18th birthday she said “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets.”
Malala returned to Pakistan for the first time since her 2012 attack by the Taliban.
Books and Documentary
She wrote the autobiography named ‘I am Malala.’ The girl who stood up for Education and was show by the Taliban. It was released in October, 2013 and became an international best seller.
‘ Malala’s Magic Pencil is one of her other books. It is a picture book named ‘ We Are Displaced. My journey and Stories from Refugee girls around the world.’
A documentary about her life was released in 2015. ‘He Named Me Malala’ the documentary was directed by Davis Guggenheim. It gives uiwers an intimate look into the life of Malala, her family and her commitment to supporting education for girls.
Malala graduated in June 2020 from Oxford University.a