“If one girl with an education can change the world, just imagine what 130 million can do.”
Malala was born on the 12th of July 1997 in the Swat district of Pakistan. She was named after a famous Pashtun poet and warrior woman. She lives with her brothers, Kushal and Atal, and her parents, Ziauddin and Tor Pekai. She was educated by her father, a school owner, and educational activist. The Taliban were at large then and were denying girls their rights to education. At a young age, she started writing blogs for the BBC under a pseudonym about what life was like under Taliban rule. It was around this time that girls were banned from going to school. However, she spoke out against it so they sent her family death threats. She still continued with her activism.
As her recognition grew, so did the danger she was in. In 2012 the Taliban made a unanimous decision to murder her. On her way home from school, she was confronted on the bus by a Taliban member. He shot her near the eye. 2 other girls were injured in the attack. She was taken by air to a military hospital in Peshawar where she had a five-hour surgery and was then transported to another hospital in Rawalpindi and then to the UK. Malala was treated in Queen Elizabeth hospital. All her medical treatment was paid for by the Pakistani government.
There was worldwide media coverage after the incident. The whole world was held in anger and sympathy. There was a petition to stop the Taliban’s uprising and many famous people declared their support for Malala. In 2014, she received a Nobel Peace Prize for her work and she delivered an inspirational, moving speech about girls’ education and a fund was established to help children get educations. In a statement, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack and said they would attack her again if she survived. She visited Pakistan again in 2018, almost 6 years after the attack. A documentary was also filmed about her life, ‘He named me Malala’.
After her recovery, she lived with her family in Birmingham, England where she still lives today. Many books have been written about her, most notably her autobiography, ‘I am Malala’, co-written by British author, Christina Lamb. In 2017 alone, 2 million copies were sold. She completed her education in Edgbaston high school with 6 A*s and 4As. In June 2020 she completed her exams at Oxford University studying Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Malala is currently working on establishing schools for refugees and getting girls to play cricket in Pakistan.
‘One child, one book, one teacher and one pen can change the world‘.