Sharing is caring!

She is the teenager who marked her 16th birthday with a live  address from UN headquarters, is known around the world  by her first name alone, and has been lauded by a former  British prime minister as “an icon of courage and hope”. 

She is Malala Yousafzai, whose life was forever changed at  age 15 by a Taliban bullet on 9 October 2012. 

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997 in Mingora,  Pakistan. Yousafzai was the first of three children born to  Ziauddin and Tor Pekai Yousafzai. Although it was not always  easy to raise a girl child in Pakistan, Malala Yousafzai’s father  insisted that she received all of the same opportunities  afforded to boy children.  

Her father was a teacher and education advocate that ran a  girls’ school in their village. Due to his influence, Yousafzai  was passionate about knowledge from a very young age, and  she would often waddle into her father’s classes before she  could even talk. However, by the time she was ten years old,  Taliban extremists began to take control of the Swat Valley  and many of her favorite things were banned. Girls were no  longer able to attend school, and owning a television, playing  music and dancing were all prohibited. Girl’s education was  specifically targeted by the Taliban and by the end of 2008 they had destroyed over 400 schools. 

Yousafzai started by blogging anonymously for the British  Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in early 2009. She used the  penname, “Gul Makai,” and spoke about her life under  Taliban rule and how much she wanted to attend school. Her  first BBC diary entry entitled, “I Am Afraid,” detailed her  nightmares about a full-blown war in her hometown. Her  nightmares started to become reality, as Yousafzai and her  family were soon forced to leave their home due to rising  tensions between Pakistan and the Taliban.  

This did not stop Yousafzai from advocating for her right to  attend school. Over the next few years, she and her father  began speaking out on behalf of girls’ education in the media.  They campaigned for Pakistani girls’ access to a free quality  education. Yousafzai was now a household name. However,  this also made her a target. 

On October 9, 2012, fifteen-year old Yousafzai was on the  bus returning from school with her friends. Two members of  the Taliban stopped the bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” When they identified Yousafzai, they shot her in the head.  Fortunately, she was airlifted to a Pakistani military hospital  and then taken to an intensive care unit in England.  

After ten days in a medically induced coma, Yousafzai woke  up in a hospital in Birmingham, England. She had suffered no  major brain damage, but the left side of her face was  paralyzed, and she would require many reparative surgeries  and rehabilitation. After months of medical treatment,  Yousafzai was able to return to her family that now lived in  England. In March 2013, Yousafzai began attending school in  Birmingham. Although she was now able to attend school in  England, she decided to keep fighting “until every girl could  go to school.” 

On her sixteenth birthday, Yousafzai spoke at the United  Nations in New York. That same year she published her  autobiography entitled, “I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up  for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.” She was  awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the  European Parliament for her activism.

In December of 2014, Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel  Peace Prize for her work. At age seventeen, she became the  youngest person to be named a Nobel laureate. Since then,  Yousafzai has continued to advocate for the rights of women  and girls. 

Now you might find this story inspiring, and now wish to  enroll yourself into doing something useful for yourself. And  if that something useful you’re looking for is a school,  college, or university, find the best possible option for you  using

Sharing is caring!