1. This is Malala Yousafzai. She is 16.
2. She’s an advocate for educational opportunities for girls in Pakistan and throughout the world.
After this New York Times documentary in 2009, she became internationally-recognized as a leading voice for gender equality and educational opportunity.
3. On October 9, 2012, she was shot by the Taliban as she sat on a school bus.
An armed Taliban militant boarded the bus and shouted, “Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all! She is propagating against the soldiers of Allah, the Taliban. She must be punished.”
She was shot in the head at point-blank range. The bullet travelled through her head and neck before lodging in her shoulder.
Malala was shot because she dares to go to school and believes all children should have that opportunity, regardless of gender.
4. Malala survived. She refused to give up or quiet down.
5. On July 12, she spoke to the UN as they recognized “Malala Day.”
Here is some of what she said.
6. “Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”
7. “The Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends, too. They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices.”
8. “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage were born.”
9. “I am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. … my soul is telling me: be peaceful and love everyone.”
10. “We realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way… we realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.”
A Somali girl crosses a street on her way to school while soldiers of AMISOM’s Djiboutian contingent stand guard.