In October 2012, while 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was on her usual route to school. Suddenly, the Taliban stopped the bus she was on and shot her. Her reason for persecution – fighting for the educational rights of women in Pakistan. Today, Malala Yousafzai stands as an inspirational leader in education. “Some people only ask others to do something. I believe that, why should I wait for someone else? Why don’t I take a step and move forward?”
Malala Yousafzai was born to a Pashtun family, to Toor Pekai Yousafzai and Ziauddin Yousafzai. She grew up in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Despite being born under a government that did not prioritise women’s education, Malala’s father believed strongly in educating her.
Malala later spoke out publicly on television, making her a target of the Taliban. She became a symbol of children’s right to education and in 2011, received the National Youth Peace Prize in Pakistan. After the Taliban shot her on the left side of her head, she survived and moved to England. She continued advocating for education rights in Pakistan while pursuing a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University.
Malala Fund Logo Malala’s activism has significantly affected many girls and their access to educational opportunities. She established the Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve a future she chooses. In 2014, she received the Nobel Peace Prize and became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate. She used her prize money to build a secondary school for girls in Pakistan and continued campaigning for children’s education. She also celebrated her 18th birthday by opening a school for Syrian girls in a refugee camp in Lebanon.
Malala recognised the importance of education, especially for girls like herself in less developed countries like Pakistan. Such places can be more difficult to access educational resources, especially for women and girls. Access to resources is a key educational problem that many less developed countries face. Rural locations might further exacerbate this difficulty.