What’s a girl to do when she’s living in a country that prevents her from getting an education and making a future for herself. Does she give into threats and assaults and fall into menial existence or does she rebel and fight for basic human rights? We’d suggest taking the route that Malala Yousafzai took. Despite having all odds against she fought tooth and nail for what we in the western world take for granted, a basic education.
Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan in 1997. Life wasn’t so easy, but luckily Malala had some amazing parents. Her father was a poet, school owner and educational activist. Her dad described her as quite remarkable and would allow her to discuss politics and other matter well into the night after her brothers were put to bed. That said, being stripped of an educational rights really hit home for her and her family.
She first rocked the foundation when her father took her to a press club in Peshawar. It was there she let her outrage over the Taliban be heard. In 2009 she became a peer educator at the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. It was there that she would have talks with other young people as herself. She’d lead constructive discussions on the latest social issues.
From that alone she garnered the attention of Aamer Ahmed Khan who worked on the BBC Urdu website. He wanted to get a look into the Taliban’s growing presence in Swat and what kind of influence they were having. He decided to do this via having school girls writing for their blog.
Malala was one of the first girls selected to write on the blog and she did by using a lot of sneaky tactics. Getting caught writing this by the Taliban would no doubt have dire consequences. Her first blog in early 2009 covered the war surrounding her town and how with every battle fewer and fewer girls would show up until the school was finally shut down. It was also around this time that the Taliban banned girls from going to school. As a way of making their law effective, the Taliban took to blowing up hundred of girls schools across Mingora.
The BBC project ended in March of 2009. Not long after her blog ended, her and her father approached the New York Times with proposition of making a documentary. It was met with praise and production started right away. Soon after that another battle broke out in Swat and Malala and her family were separated. While her father went to Peshawar, she was to stay with family in the countryside. It was a brief departure and when the battle subsided they were reunited.
It was the documentary that really brought her into the light. It covered her and all the accomplishments she managed within a short few years. She went on interviews, met with activist and was even awarded the National Youth Peace Prize. It was her popularity that made her a target. The Taliban wanted both her and her father dead and they would make an attempt on her life in 2012 when they’d shoot her in the head while she was on the school bus going home.
The world was in shock over the murder attempt and was internationally covered by the media. Some assumed she wouldn’t make it, yet miraculously Malala survived and was more bent on educational rights than ever before. Since that incident Malala has relocated to the UK and has published a memoir. In 2014 she won the Nobel Peace prize. It’s a win that makes her the youngest person to ever receive the award. She is currently working with Syrian refugees. She most recently opened up a girls school in Lebanon.