Malala Yousafzai to keep using her global young voice in defense of young girls' right to education
Fours years ago today at the U.N. headquarters, 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai gave the famous speech that gave life to Malala Day.
In October 2014, she became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
After being shot in a Taliban attack on her school in Swat Valley, Pakistan, Malala’s life radically changed.
The assassination attempt raised international support for the young girl who views that episode of her life as a signal to take action in women’s and children’s defense.
“When I woke up in the hospital, my mind was very clear that this life is for a cause,” Malala said. “This is a second life, and it is given to me for something greater than what I was before.”
With the support of her father Ziauddin, Malala established the Malala Fund in 2013, advocating for resources to ensure all girls complete 12 years of school.
On the occasion of her 18th birthday on July 12, 2015, the young activist opened the Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley near the Syrian borders.
Last October, at the opening session of a conference called “Investing in The Future: Building the Resilience of Women and Girls in the Arab Region,” Malala voiced her aspiration to become a prime minister of Pakistan. “When I saw women role models, it broadened my vision,” she said. “I saw Benazir Bhutto as a woman leader who was twice the prime minister of Pakistan. I heard about women athletes, astronauts, artists, entrepreneurs. It allowed me to recognize the potential that I had, and that I can have as a woman.”
Christina Lamb, the co-author of the award-winning book “I Am Malala,” said: “I have never met anybody that’s so eloquent, passionate and determined to make a difference. It wouldn’t surprise me if she ended up being prime minister of Pakistan or secretary-general of the U.N.”
In April 2017, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres named Malala a U.N. Messenger of Peace to promote girls’ education. That same month, Canada made her an honorary citizen.
“I am excited for my future but I can’t help thinking of millions of girls around the world who will not omplete their education. I was almost one of those girls,” Malala wrote on her blog about a week ago, on her last day of secondary school. “The Taliban took over our beautiful home in Swat Valley and declared a ban on girls’ education. I share my story not because it is unique , but because it is not. The fear I had then is still felt today by 130 million out-of-school girls around the world.”