Malala, Pakistan's fearless education activist
She was shot by the Taliban at age 15 and survived. She won the Nobel Peace Prize at age 17. At age 20, Malala Yousafzai is finally getting to go back to her native Pakistan.
A fierce leader in the fight for women’s rights and education
“The terrorists tried to stop us and attacked me and my friends who are here today, on our school bus.”
She was born in 1997 in Mingora, in Pakistan
Her father worked as a school principal. When she was 11 years old, the Taliban took control of the Swat valley, where she lived. They bombed dozens of schools and banned female education. A few months later, a journalist encouraged her to start a blog on the BBC website where she documented her daily life. Her campaign for actress to education started to gain recognition outside Pakistan. But she also began receiving death threats from the Taliban. When she was 15, on October 9, 2012, Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, spoke about Malala and her situation, stating, “She was targeted just because of her determination to go to school and learn. Targeting Malala, the extremists showed what they feared most: a girl with a book.”
A few days later, she was flown to Birmingham, UK
She was treated in a hospital that specialized in injured soldiers. In 2013, she celebrated her 16th birthday by giving a historic speech at the United Nations. The same year, she was named “Woman of the Year” by Glamour magazine. At 18, she became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. After receiving the award, she admitted, “When I receive this award, I feel that it’s not just me receiving the award, it’s all these girls, all this young generation. They have been working so hard.”
At 20, she began to study philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University in the UK
In January 2018, she spoke at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland, where she delivered a powerful message to women. At the conference, she had a powerful message and declared, “First we wanted men to do something for us. But like, that time is gone now. We’re not going to ask men to change the world. We’re going to do it ourselves; we are going to stand up for ourselves, we’re going to raise out voices, and we are going to change the world.”
On March 29, 2018, she returned to Pakistan for the first time in six years
She and her parents met Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. Discussing her hopes for Pakistan, she said, “I have this one dream: that I go to Pakistan, where I can be in peace, without fear. I can move on the streets, I can meet people, I can talk to people.” Today, Malala Yousafzai is a leader in the fight for women’s rights and education.