Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

Malala Yousafzai 




By: Ameena Drammeh


Who is Malala Yousafzai?

                     Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani school student, an education activist, writer, and journalist.  She has brought the attention of the world in support of her struggle to ensure the rights of girls and women in Pakistan. She is also known for her education and women’s rights activism in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. 

Early Life

                 Malala Yousafzai was born into a Muslim family of Pashtun ethnicity  on July 12, 1997. Yousafzai was mainly educated by her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, who is a poet, school owner and an educational activist himself. Malala began public speaking about girls right to education as early as 2008. Her first speech at Swats local press was titled “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education!” which was nationally covered by the Pakistani press. 

Here is where her story all began …..

                   In 2008, the Taliban decided to prohibit girls, who lived in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, to acquire an education. At the beginning of 2009, Malala had a chance to write for BBC Urdu when her father, Ziauddin, was asked by a BBC reporter out of Pakistan, if any women at his school would write about life under the Taliban. At first, a girl named Aisha from her father’s school agreed to write a diary, but then the girl’s parents stopped her from doing it because they feared Taliban reprisals. The only alternative was Malala, four years younger than the original volunteer, and in seventh grade at the time. At the time, Taliban militants were taking over the Swat Valley, banning television, music, girls’ education and women from going shopping. With the consent of her father, Malala started to write a blog that was published by the BBC under the name “Gul Makai” for 10 months. In her blog posts, Malala described the impact that the school ban had on her along with many of her classmates as they continued to attend their school. Little did she know she was in for a surprise, her life would drastically forever and she would grab the worlds attention. 

               After being nominated by her father for a peace prize in 2009, Malala’s identity was revealed. Her fame started to grow once it was discovered that she was the girl who wrote the BBC blog. As she became more prominent, Malala began to actively campaign for girls’ education. Because of her fierce activism, Malala was the first person to be awarded the National Peace Prize by the Pakistan government. In many Western nations, Malala’s profile was raised after the New York Timesfeatured her in a documentary.

                 In their effort to prevent girls from attending schools, the Taliban took extreme measures. In a four-year span, the group destroyed hundreds of schools. Because of the widespread destruction coupled with repeated speeches by the Taliban leader in the region denouncing education for girls, a number of parents stopped sending their children to schools. Consequently, the population of girls in schools has been sharply reduced. 

                Notwithstanding the constant danger she faced during her campaign, 15-year-old Malala never waiver in her belief that girls have the right to receive an education. As they sought to intimidate those young girls from going to schools, the Pakistani Taliban resulted to acidattack, which ended up disfiguring the victims. Thus, the threats were ever-present whenever Malala went to school or made a public appearance where she expressed her views about the importance of education for girls. But Malala willingly put her life at risk in order to preserve the precious right to have an education not only for her but also for other girls. It is a right that many teen girls like myself  who live in more stable countries often take for granted.

                  Because of her bravery and courage, it would almost cost her her life. On October 9, 2012, a group of girls were returning home from school. Shortly after leaving the school, the bus carrying the young girls was stopped by two individuals. Once they stepped inside the bus, one of the two individuals removed his gun and began asking in earnest, “which one of you is Malala Yousafzai?” As soon as they identified her, the gunman shot Malala twice; one of the bullets hit Malala in her face and the other bullet struck her in the neck. The two men, who belong to the Pakistani Taliban, tried to kill her because Malala committed the ‘crime’ of speaking out and writing about the need for girls living in the Swat region to get an education. 

             Malala was rushed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England to repair the damage that was done to her skull. Miraculously, she survived. She is lucky to be alive. 

                  The world was shocked to hear about this incident. She gained many supporters and recognition from many people around the world. Celebrities, presidents, students, teachers etc all acknowledged her. She has been nominated for countless awards including the Nobel peace prize, she was the youngest nominee in history. Today Malala is still fighting for girls rights in Pakistan. She said she wouldn’t mind being shot again if it meant fighting for girls right to education.

                      Malala is an inspiration and a role model. She makes us realize that us girls in America take school and our education for granted. We need more people like her who realize that something is wrong and stands up and fight for it. I have no doubt that she will continue to fight for not only her education, but for every girl in the world.


Work Cited/Bibliography…/time-person-of-the-year-2012-malalayousaf…/a-video-statement-from-malalayousafzai









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