A man steps onto a busy school bus. He looks around the rows of seats and asks
“Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all.”
This is the moment the Taliban in Pakistan believed they were silencing a voice, when really they were strengthening one. Malala was only 15 when she was shot, but she hasn’t let it stop her going on to become an influential activist for women’s education across the world.
Malala was born 12 July 1997 and lived in Swat Valley, Pakistan. From an early age she was enthusiastic about school. At aged 12, she wrote a blog for BBC, explaining what it was like to be a girl trying to school under Taliban rule. She wrote about being afraid of breaking edicts set by the Taliban; dwindling numbers of her friends continuing to go to school; and being surrounded by the noise of mortars.
Soon after, Malala appeared on TV, advocating for female education. A documentary about her and her father was made by the New York Times. In 2011, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
It was as she gained more recognition that Malala’s actions started getting dangerous. She started receiving death threats from the Taliban. It was on 9 October 2012, that Malala was shot in the head. The bullet went through her face, damaging the left side of her brain, then went through her shoulder until the bullet was dangerously near her spinal cord.
The attack on Malala met outrage from the rest of the world. Angelina Jolie wrote a really good article about trying to explain what happened to her children. Offers of treatment for Malala came from all over the world. She was treated in Pakistan and in then in England.
Amazingly, she didn’t suffer any brain damage and doctors were able to restore her hearing.
Despite everything she went through, Malala is now an activist for women’s education. She’s met world leaders and addressed the UN. She and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, set up The Malala Fund, which helps support women’s education across the globe.
On 10 October 2014, it was announced that she was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Not all girls have the right to an education, so it’s amazing to see a woman who’s so young stand up for people who can’t do it for themselves. No one can describe Malala’s determination better than herself
“All I want is an education, I am afraid of no one.”