What started as a rebelion against the Talibans has now become a revolution. Little did that fifteen year old girl know that a single speech will change her life and she would end up motivating the entire world some day. Malala Yousafzai is a fighter, surviver, the youngest nobel laureate and much more. In this Leverage Edu blog, we will celebrate the life of Malala and how she went from taking a bullet to the world’s most prominent activist for right to education.
Born on the 12th of July 1997, she belongs to a Sunni Muslim family of Pashtun. She has two younger brothers – Khushal and Atal. She was taught by her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, and is fluent in three languages, namely, Pashto, Urdu and English. Her father always believed in her and hence allowed her to speak on politics long after her brothers had been sent to bed. Malala Yousafzai was inspired by the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and hence she started talking about the importance of education very early.
One of the very bold statements she made while addressing the crowd in her region, “How dare the Taliban to take away my basic right to education?”
Subsequently, she started working as a peer educator in the Institute for War and Peace Reporting’s Open Minds Pakistan youth program.
In 2017, she joined Oxford University and graduated in June 2020 with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
- At the age of 11, in 2009, Malala began blogging under BBC and wrote about the threats of the Taliban in denying basic education rights. Although she wrote these blogs under a different name, eventually it was revealed that it was her behind the blogs.
- With the ever-increasing public platform, she spoke about the right of women to education. This activism led to a nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011. In that very year, she was also honoured with Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.
- In 2012, she was awarded – Anne Frank Award for Moral Courage, Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice, Rome Prize for Peace and Humanitarian Action and Sitara-e-Shujaat, which is Pakistan’s second-highest civilian bravery award. She was also featured in the top 100 global thinkers list published by Foreign Policy Magazine.
- In 2013, she won the International Children’s Peace Prize and the Pride of Britain. Glamour Magazine also conferred her with the title of “Woman of the Year”.
- In 2017, she won the United Nations Messenger of Peace Prize becoming the youngest recipient of it.
- In 2020, Malala Yousafzai Elementary School was established in Fort Bend County, Texas. It is currently being operated by the Fort Bend Independent School District.
- Malala also runs her own organization by the name of Malala Fund to promote education for girl children.
These were some of the extraordinary achievements of the inspiring lady, Malala Yousafzai.
“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
The Traumatic Incident
One fine day, when Malala was returning home from school, she was just 15, she was shot in the left side of her head. A masked man had boarded the school bus and asked for her. This incident left Malala in a very critical condition. For further care, she was transferred to Birmingham, England.
After reaching United Kingdom, Yousafzai was taken out of the medically induced coma. She had suffered no major brain damage although she did require multiple surgeries. In March 2013, she started attending school in Birmingham.
The incident resulted in a massive support for Malala Yousufzai. The Taliban still considers Yousafzai a target, but she remains a staunch advocate for the right women to education.
“If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?”
Celebrating the Malala Day
When Malala Yousufzai delivered her speech at the UN in 2013, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon proclaimed that 12th July would be celebrated as “Malala Day” to honor the young lady’s activism to ensure education.
Books by Malala
We have listed some of her famous works below. Click on the link to get yours now!
- I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by Taliban
- We Are Displaced by Malala
- Malala’s Magic Pencil
- Main Malala Hoon
- Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls’ Rights
“Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow. Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.”
So, this was a sneak peek into the journey of her life so far. This wasn’t all. Truly, an inspiring personality. Doesn’t her story inspire you to take your stand on what you think is right? For more such content, stay connected to Leverage Edu!