Malala Spent Her 17th Birthday In Nigeria Championing #BringBackOurGirls

It was a real #MalalaDay.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who the Taliban tried to kill over her advocacy for girls’ education, celebrated her 17th birthday in Nigeria, renewing calls to bring back the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram in April.

Malala met President Goodluck Jonathan, who assured her he would rescue the 219 girls still held by Boko Haram. Many have fiercely criticized Jonathan for repeatedly stating his commitment to rescuing the girls — but then failing to actually act.

The meeting did not look all that comfortable. AP Photo

Malala also met with some of the families of the kidnapped schoolgirls and the organizers of the now viral #BringBackOurGirls campaign in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

In 2012, Taliban fighters tried to kill Malala because of her support for girls’ education. She has since risen to be one of the world’s most well-known advocates for global education. AP Photo/Olamikan Gbemiga

While in Nigeria, Malala turned 17.

Afolabi Sotunde / Reuters

The activist used her birthday to release a video to support her latest campaign, #StrongThan. “What are you stronger than?” the video asks. “Show it to the world on this #MalalaDay.”

On Twitter, Malala reiterated her support for all school children everywhere deprived of their right to education.

"10.5 million children in Nigeria do not have access to education. Around 400 girls are abducted by Boko Haram." -Malala

— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund)

"7 million children in Pakistan are deprived of education. And about 900,000 people are homeless due to miliatry operations"

— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund)

"Girls from Syria who were once in schools and learning, now live in a camp, and struggle to understand life in a new country as a refugee."

— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund)

"Bc of conflict btwn Gaza and Israel people are badly suffering on both sides and recently many children died in air strikes on Palestine"

— Malala Fund (@MalalaFund)

Aslew of leading politicians, NGOs, and celebrities shared their birthday wishes with Malala on Twitter and expressed their support using her favorite hashtags.

"We are #StrongerThan the enemies of education. We are stronger than fear, hatred, violence and poverty.” #MalalaDay

— StateDeptPRM (@StatePRM)

Today, on #MalalaDay, let's stand w/#Malala in her fight to ensure every girl has access to an education. Because we're #StrongerThan fear.

— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand)

Celebrate #MalalaDay today by sharing what you're #StrongerThan:

— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue)

So happy birthday Malala! And Jonathan, just a reminder, it’s really bad form to fall back on a birthday promise.

AP Photo

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