It seems fitting that on the day before International Day of a Girl, Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace. She shares the award with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. At age 17, Malala is the youngest to ever be awarded this prize. She’s become an international symbol for girls right to education around the world since she was shot in the head by the Taliban in October 2012 for being openly vocal about a girl’s right to education. On her way home from school in the back of a pickup truck with several other girls, the truck was stopped by a masked gunman. Another man with a pistol came to the back of the truck and shouted “Who is Malala?” Although none of the girls spoke, they looked at her which signaled exactly who she was and the gunman shot her in the head. After treatment in Islamabad, Pakistan, she was airlifted to the UK for treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Since her miraculous recovery she has become the symbol for the struggle of women and girls right to education around the world.
“This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard. I speak for them and I stand up with them. And I join them in their campaign,” she said. ” They have rights. They have the right to receive quality education, they have right not to suffer from child labour, not to suffer from child trafficking. They have the right to live a happy life,” she said at a news conference. The last two years this young woman has continued to speak out on issues surrounding girls rights and the importance of education. Currently she attends Edgbaston High School for girls in Birmingham, UK, where she now lives. She was actually in Chemistry class when she received word that she had won the Nobel Prize. What a way to celebrate a Friday with her classmates.
Earlier this year she spoke out on the #BringBackOurGirls campaign after over 250 schoolgirls were kidnapped in Nigeria. She spent her 17th birthday in Nigeria supporting parents whose daughters were kidnapped and offering her voice of support and encouragement. In her meeting with Nigeria’s President, Goodluck Jonathan, she was optimistic that her words and personal experience would make a difference. Her memoir, ‘I Am Malala’, has become an international bestseller inspiring everyone around the world. This young woman’s life has had a global impact and I’m sure she will continue with being vocal on issues that support women and girls for many years to come.