A Kids Rigts Initiative

Lifestory Malala

On September 6 2013, the International Children’s Peace Prize was awarded to Malala Yousafzai. The prize was handed to her by Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakkol Karman. Malala won the prize, at the age of 16, because she stands up for every child’s right to an education and especially girls. When Malala was 11 years old, she wrote under a pseudonym, about her passion for learning and the oppression of the Taliban. Hundreds of girls’ schools had already been torched or bombed, and on 15 January 2009, the Taliban declared that girls were no longer allowed to go to school at all. Malala told the world what it felt like to be trapped at home, longing to go to school, but with no school to go to.

By May 2009, life in Swat was just too dangerous, and Malala’s family, like many others, was forced to flee. When government forces retook control of the area three months later, they came back to a city destroyed by violence. The first thing Malala did was to check if her books were still in her room. They were. Those schools which hadn’t been destroyed were now able to reopen, but the danger of militant attacks had not gone away.

Undeterred, Malala picked up her campaign where she had left off. She held a press conference urging the government to restore education for children in the Swat Valley. And in 2010, she became chair of The District Child Assembly of Swat; a child-only forum to protect children’s rights, based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

In 2011, Malala was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. When she didn’t win, the Pakistani government decided to give her the first ever National Youth Peace Prize.

On 9 October 2012, Malala was sitting in a school bus waiting to go home when it was boarded by Taliban gunmen. They singled out the 15-year old girl, and shot her in the head and neck. The Taliban immediately claimed responsibility, declaring Malala’s campaign to be an “obscenity”.
Malala survived. She was rushed to the UK for treatment, where, with her family by her side, she made a steady recovery. The world was shocked at her story, and support flooded in from political leaders, movie stars and school children. Three million people across the world signed a petition by the UN Special Envoy for Global Education, calling out for girls to be allowed go to school in Pakistan and elsewhere, and for all children everywhere to be able to go to school by 2015. Globally, there are still 32 million girls who cannot go to primary school.

Malala is back at school, not in Pakistan, but in the UK, where she now lives with her family. But she still fights passionately for children’s rights in Pakistan and beyond, and above all, for girl empowerment through education. Malala wants to be a social activist and a political leader.


2013 winner Malala Yousafzai

Name               Malala Yousafzai

Nationality       Pakistani
Year of birth    1997
Residence       Birmingham
Winner in         2013
Subject            Access to education for girls

Where does the winner live?