Malala Yousafzai (ملاله یوسفزۍ) is a Pakistani activist who has dedicated her life to campaigning for girls’ and women’s rights, especially for their rights to education. In her bestselling autobiography entitled “I Am Malala,” she famously said, “If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?”
By the age of 21, Malala had already been awarded a Nobel Prize, an education at Oxford, a massive base of loving supporters the world over and the wrath of the Taliban.
In early 2009, Malala began blogging for the BBC about living under the Taliban’s threats to deny her an education. To hide her identity, she went under the name Gul Makai but was revealed in December of that year.
With a growing public platform, she continued to speak out about her rights and the rights of every child to an education. Her activism resulted in a nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011 and, that same year, she was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize, which has since been renamed the National Malala Peace Prize in her honour.
On 9 October 2012, while on a bus after taking an exam, Malala was targeted and shot by a Taliban gunman in the head—an assassination attempt in retaliation to her activism. This effort to end her life propelled Malala further into the public eye and sparked an international outpouring of support. In 2013, she founded the Malala Fund to champion every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. Then, in 2014, she became the youngest ever person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
For her 18th birthday in July 2015, the unbeatable Malala opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. Its expenses are covered by the Malala Fund. The school was designed to admit nearly 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18.
TIME magazine featured her on its list of the world’s most influential people from 2013 to 2015. In 2014, she received the prestigious Philadelphia Liberty Medal.
In 2017, she became the youngest person to ever receive honourary Canadian citizenship, address the House of Commons of Canada, and receive the title of United Nations Messenger of Peace. She also received an honourary doctorate from the University of Ottawa that year.
Malala is now living in the UK, studying philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford.Tags: Activism, Diversity and Inclusion, education, Gender Equality, Pakistan