Known mainly for human rights advocacy for education and for women, Malala is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. As a young girl, Malala Yousafzai defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education hence leading her to be issued a death threat by the Taliban and was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012, but survived as she was sent to England for treatment. Attending the school which her father founded, she gave her very first speech in 2008, entitled “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”, after girls school were attacked by the Taliban. Soon after, she began blogging for BBC on education rights in Pakistan, under another name but she was revealed to be the blogger at the end. With a growing public platform, she continued to speak out on education rights for women, though she was facing a huge risk of probable assassination by the Taliban. As it carried on, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize and Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.
The shooting in 2012 brought about more support for Malala and on the live chat via Facebook with Malala soon after, she mentioned about her story, her inspiration and family, her plans for the future and advocacy despite the Taliban threats.
At age 17, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. In congratulating Yousafzai, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “She is (the) pride of Pakistan, she has made her countrymen proud. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequalled. Girls and boys of the world should take lead from her struggle and commitment.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described her as “a brave and gentle advocate of peace who through the simple act of going to school became a global teacher.”
For her 18th birthday on July 12, 2015, also called Malala Day, the young activist continued to take action on global education by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. Its expenses covered by the Malala Fund, the school was designed to admit nearly 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18. “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets,” Yousafzai proclaimed in one of the school’s classrooms.
Malala is truly an inspirational and influential lady who has contributed so much to women and standing up for women rights even at the risk of losing her life. I really admire her for her bravery and courage to stand up for what’s right and holding on to her beliefs, staying humble and strong, never forgetting her initial purpose and goal, even through all these challenges and obstacles she faced at such a young age. Hence, I believe that’s what garners everybody’s support and admiration for Malala.
Rachael Fong 2L