Activist

Malala Yousafzai

A young girl, Who defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. She became an international symbol of the fight for girls’ education. She fights for every girl’s right to education and a life of freedom, in Pakistan and all over the world.

Early life:

Malala Yousafzai was born on 12 July 1997 in Mingora (Swat District) of Pakistan. She is the daughter of Ziauddin Yousafzai and Tor Pekai Yousafzai. She has two younger brothers Khushal and Atal. Her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, who is a poet, school owner, and an educational activist himself, running a chain of private schools known as the Khushal Public School. Yousafzai was particularly inspired by her father thoughts and humanitarian work. She was educated mostly by her father. In an interview, Yousafzai once stated that she aspired to become a doctor, though later her father encouraged her to become a politician instead. Ziauddin referred to his daughter as something entirely special, allowing her to stay up at night and talk about politics.

Malala Yousafzai

Education & Earlier activism:

Yousafzai started speaking about education rights as early as September 2008, when her father took her to Peshawar to speak at the local press club. The title of her talk was, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”.

In 2009, She began as a trainee and then a peer educator in the Institute for War and Peace Reporting’s Open Minds Pakistan youth program, which worked in schools in the region to help people engage in constructive discussion on social issues through the tools of journalism, dialogue, and public debate.

On 3 January 2009, her first entry was posted to the BBC Urdu blog, when she was just 11 years old. To hide her identity, the Yousafzai blog was published under the byline “Gul Makai” name. BBC editors insisted that she use a pseudonym because they were concerned about her safety. After the BBC diary ended, She was approached by New York Times reporter Adam B. Ellick about filming a documentary. She also began appearing on television to publicly advocate for female education. She was the chair of the District Child Assembly of the Khpal Kor Foundation through 2009 and 2010.

In 2011, She trained with local girls’ empowerment organization, Aware Girls, run by Gulalai Ismail, whose training includes empowerment to peacefully oppose radicalization through education and advice on women’s rights.

In 2012, Yousafzai attended the International Marxist Tendency National Marxist Summer School. From March 2013 to July 2017, She was a student at the all-girls Edgbaston High School in Birmingham.

On October 9, 2012, she was riding a bus with friends on their way home from school, a masked gunman boarded the bus and demanded to know which girl was Yousafzai. When her friends looked toward Yousafzai, her location was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting Malala in the left side of her head; the bullet then traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also injured in the attack.

She survived the attack and was flown from Peshawar to Birmingham, England, for surgery. Offers to treat Yousafzai came from around the world. On 15 October, She travelled to the United Kingdom for further treatment, approved by both her doctors and family. Malala recovered, staying with her family in Birmingham, where she returned to her studies and to activism.

Continuing activism:

Nine months after being shot by the Taliban, Yousafzai gave a speech at the United Nations in 2013. In September, she spoke at Harvard University, and in October, she met with US President Barack Obama and his family; during that meeting, she confronted him on his use of drone strikes in Pakistan. After one month she addressed the Oxford Union and In July 2014, Yousafzai spoke at the Girl Summit in London also, she donated to the UNRWA for the reconstruction of schools on the Gaza Strip.

On 12 July 2015, her 18th birthday, Malala opened a school in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, for Syrian refugees. In September 2017, speaking in Oxford, She said: “This should be a human rights issue. Governments should react to it. People are being displaced, they are facing violence.”

Awards & honours:

In October 2011, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a South African activist, nominated Yousafzai for the International Children’s Peace Prize of the Dutch international children’s advocacy group, KidsRights Foundation. Sitara-e-Shujaat, Pakistan’s second-highest civilian bravery award in October 2012. She has received the following national and international honours: here are list some of these –

Foreign Policy magazine top 100 global thinker, November 2012.

Mother Teresa Awards for Social Justice, November 2012.

Fred and Anne Jarvis Award of the UK National Union of Teachers, March 2013.

Harvard Foundation’s Peter Gomes Humanitarian Award from Harvard University, September 2013. In 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Kailash Satyarthi. Ellis Island International Medal of Honor, in 2017.

1 thought on “Malala Yousafzai

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