change_makers
Her name is Malala

A Girl In Pakistan's Swat Valley

On July 12, 1997, Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, in the country's Swat Valley. For the first several years of her life, her hometown remained a popular tourist spot known for its summer festivals. That changed in 2007 when the Taliban invaded the area and took control. She was only 10 years old at the time. The Taliban is a violent extremist group fighting to control Pakistan and its neighboring country, Afghanistan.

Speaking Out For Girls Early On

Yousafzai attended a school founded by her father. After the Taliban began attacking girls' schools in Swat, she gave a speech in Peshawar, Pakistan, in September 2008. The title of her talk was: "How Dare the Taliban Take Away My Basic Right to Education?"

In early 2009, Yousafzai began writing for the BBC, a British news organization, about the Taliban's opposition to education for girls and women. To protect herself, she used the fake name Gul Makai. By December of that year, though, she was identified as the BBC blogger.

Yousafzai became popular because of her activism. She was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize in 2011. That same year, she was awarded Pakistan's National Youth Peace Prize.

Targeted By The Taliban

When she was 14, Yousafzai and her family learned that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her. Though she was frightened for the safety of her father — an anti-Taliban activist  — she and her family initially believed that the Taliban would not actually harm a child.

On October 9, 2012, a man boarded the bus that Yousafzai was riding on her way home from school and demanded to know which girl was Malala Yousafzai. When her friends looked toward Yousafzai, her identity was given away. The gunman fired at her, hitting the left side of her head. The bullet traveled down her neck. Two other girls were also injured in the attack.

The shooting left Yousafzai in critical condition so she was flown to a military hospital in Peshawar, a city in Pakistan. Part of her skull was removed to help treat the swelling of her brain and help her heal. To get more care, she was transferred to Birmingham, England.

After The Attack

In England, Yousafzai was taken out of a medically induced coma, which occurs when doctors give a patient medication that puts them into a long deep sleep. Her face was paralyzed, which means it could not move. She had to undergo many operations, but she had suffered no major brain damage. In March 2013, she was able to begin attending school in Birmingham.

The shooting resulted in a huge outpouring of support for Yousafzai from around the world. On her 16th birthday in 2013, she gave a speech at the United Nations (U.N.). The U.N. is a global organization that promotes countries' cooperation. She also wrote a book about her experiences with the Taliban. The book was published in October 2013.

Death Threats And The Nobel Peace Prize

The Taliban still wants to kill Yousafzai. Despite the Taliban's threats, she continues to fight for girls' rights to go to school.

In 2013, she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, an award given every year to people who work to promote world peace. She didn't win, but she was nominated again in March 2014. In October 2014, Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. At age 17, she became the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize.Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: “She is (the) pride of Pakistan. She has made her countrymen proud. Girls and boys of the world should take the lead from her struggle and commitment."

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Comments (6)
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Ilona Ryabova
12:34 PM
she is a hero, I agree, we all need to be bolder and more resolute
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Olena Shevchenko
11:08 PM
Thanks for telling me I hear about her for the first time
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Mikolas A
11:02 AM
She is really great!
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Mishel L
5:34 PM
Amazing!
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Rachit Roshan
4:44 PM
She is our hero in India!
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Carlos S
3:40 PM
She is great!
All comments (6)
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