Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl born in Mingora in 1997, changed how the world saw education when she was just 16. Malala had constantly been demonstrating her passion of going to school on a BBC blog under a fake name, hoping that she wouldn’t be caught by the strict authorities in her town. When the military strengthened their hold on the district of Swat, television and music were banned, and women were banned from going shopping. Malala’s father’s school was also going to be closed, and the two of them spoke out about the right for education. This caused them to be thrown death threats, and after winning Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize, the Taliban leaders had voted to kill her in a conference. In 2012, after a normal day of school, Malala and her friends were on the bus home. Suddenly, the bus stopped, and a masked person bearing a gun stepped on. He asked for Malala by name, and when she revealed herself, he shot her in the head. Two of her friends were injured as well. Fortunately, Malala survived the attack and was instantly moved to the Birmingham hospital in the UK.
Malala was discharged from the hospital in January of 2013. By then, Pakistan as well as the rest of the world had recognized the attack and protested against the Taliban. A few weeks after the attack, millions of people had signed an education petition National Assembly quickly ratified Pakistan’s first Right To Free and Compulsory Education Bill. She then went on to establish the Malala fund and receive the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
I first learned about the full story of Malala when I went on a trip with my MAD Academy to the local movie theater. The documentary we watched was called “He Named Me Malala.” Other schools went as well, so the theater was full of high school students. I had known a little bit about her story, but not much. After watching her documentary, I was so inspired by her inner beauty and intelligence. She never once wished death or pain among the people that shot her, she only wished for them to be educated on peace. Malala truly has a heart of gold, and she continually shows that to the world day by day. She’s an advocate for girls’ right to education, and I admire her so much.
Title from “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy.