Born in Mingora, Pakistan, a brave soul fought against the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded education for girls. Malala Yousafzai became an advocate for education of girls that resulted in the issue of a death threat against her by the Taliban. She was shot in the head in 2012 by a Taliban gunman. However, she was unstoppable and continued with her noble work. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 and in 2014, she was re-nominated and she finally became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ziauddin Yosafzai, her father, had founded a school where Malala had received her early education. The Taliban had begun attacking numerous girls’ schools in Swat area of Pakistan. It was then that Malala decided to deliver a speech in Peshawar. Her talk was titled, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” This is considered as her initial days of activism.
Malala continued to deliver many speeches about basic rights and also about the right of education for every woman in her country. Her works of activism earned her a nomination for the International Children’s Peace Prize 2011. She was also awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize the same year.
However, Malala received a death threat because of her work. She was not concerned about herself but was deeply worried about her father who was an anti-Taliban activist. The family thought that the Taliban would not harm a child. But, they were wrong. On 9 October 2012, a masked gunman attacked the 15-year-old while she was returning from school. Malala was in the school bus along with her friends, when the gunman boarded the bus and asked for her. She was shot in the head. The attack also left two other girls injured.
Malala resides in Britain currently where she received medical treatment after she was shot. She is completing school in June after which, she is planning to study philosophy, politics and economics at university.
Malala continues to fight for the right to education and other rights for women. Her remarkable journey from a remote village in Pakistan to the United Nations in New York is simply extraordinary. She has achieved so many honours at such a young age. In 2014, aged 17, she became the youngest person to win a Nobel Peace Prize, and in April 2017, she became the youngest Messenger of Peace, the highest honour awarded by the United Nations.
She is a wonderful orator and that has landed her on the global stage as a regular speaker. She has visited numerous refugee camps to fight for the rights of women. Her dedication to work and the will to do something for the girls in this world have helped her to achieve so many titles at such a young age. She is definitely an inspiration for young girls everywhere.
Malala began to maintain a diary for the BBC’s Urdu service in which she provided complete details about how her life was badly affected by the Taliban. She spoke about her life with her peers. Her entries were written under the name ‘Gul Makai’, the name of a local heroine from a Pashtun folk tale. “If you want to see your future bright, you have to start working now [and] not wait for anyone else.”
Distinguished individuals are selected as UN Messengers of Peace from various fields ranging from literature, art, science, sports, entertainment or other public life fields. They work wholeheartedly to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. The United Nations is all set to achieve the fourth level of their developmental goals that states, “By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.” Its main focus would be on the thought of providing free education that would further help in promoting the growth of the whole world as a whole. Dedicated people join hands to fulfil this mission for a better and an educated world. Education is the basic right of any individual and they should receive it at any cost.
Malala is one of those individuals who has dedicated her whole life to fight for the rights of women. She is proud to call herself a Muslim and stresses that Islam is a religion of peace. She is deeply disappointed that the media refers to her religion as “Islamic jihadists and Islamic terrorists.” She says that one should not judge a religion based on some people who demean it. On 14 July 2014, she appealed to the militants of Boko Haram to stop misusing the name of Islam.