Today is the 16th birthday of the brilliant young hero, Malala Yousafzai. When she was 11, Malala began a public campaign for girls’ education in Pakistan. She became well-known in Pakistan for her efforts, and received international attention when she wrote a BBC diary about her life in the Swat Valley.
Malala became a symbol for girls’ education. Unfortunately, her newfound fame made her a target for Taliban retaliation. On October 9, 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Malala on her way home from school. Malala survived the attack, and is thriving today. She refused to let the attack defeat her or scare her. Furthermore, other Pakistani girls and their mothers refuse to let the attack scare them away from an education either. Today, in at least one girls’ primary school, enrollment is up because of Malala’s courage.
Malala is celebrating her 16th birthday by speaking to the United Nations. She is delivering a speech and presenting a petition for aid to get all children, especially girls, into school by 2015.
Sarah Brown, founder of A World At School, and Malala’s mentor said:
What is so moving about Malala’s story is that, in spite of all the odds, she has kept on fighting not just for her own education but for the education of all children in Pakistan, and beyond … I’m so proud that she will lead 500 of these young voices in taking her campaign to the highest level at the UN this Friday. Her speech will be an incredibly moving moment in her already inspiring story.
Have a great, inspired Malala Day!