Malala Yousafzai is the young girl, the whole world looks upto. Better known as the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, July 13th marks the birthday of this young, yet powerful girl. Pakistani by birth, Malala is a children’s and women’s activist and fights for the same in her country and throughout the world. She advocated right to education in her village, where at times, the Talibans banned the girls from going to school. This advocacy of hers actually turned into a huge movement. At the tender age of 18, she has influenced the entire world like never before.
What initially brought her into the news and media was an unfortunate incident that happened when she was boarding her school bus. In October 2012, she was shot by a gunman. One out of the three bullets hit her head and traveled all the way from her face to her shoulder. In a case like this, with almost no hope for survival, this brake little girl, after successive multiple treatments, came back to life with a bang. 50 Islamic Fatwas were also issued against those who tried to kill he, but the Taliban is still after her and her father, who runs a chain of schools to educate girls like Malala.
Malala celebrated her 18th birthday in Lebanon by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls and called on world leaders. Lebanon is home to 1.2 million of the 4 million refugees that have fled Syria’s war to neighbouring countries. There are about 500,000 Syrian school-age children in Lebanon, but only a fifth are in formal education.The Malala Fund, a non-profit organisation that supports local education projects, paid for the school in the Bekaa Valley, close to the Syrian border. It can welcome up to 200 girls aged 14 to 18.
The world has accepted this little girl with open arms ad acknowledged her efforts through various awards and recognition. A 2013 issue of Time magazine featured Yousafzai as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”. She was the winner of Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize, and the recipient of the 2013 Sakharov Prize. In July that year, she spoke at the headquarters of the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education, and in October the Government of Canada announced its intention that its parliament confer Honorary Canadian citizenship upon Yousafzai. Later in 2014, Yousafzai was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Aged 17 at the time, Yousafzai became the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.