Malala Yousafzai: Raising her voice for girls everywhere

One year ago today, a 15 year old girl in Pakistan was shot in the head by the Taliban for trying to go to school. This terrible event, which would silence most of us, has given, now 16 year old, Malala Yousafzai the loudest voice of all in the fight for women’s rights and for the right to education. With the International Day of the Girl approaching, it is only fitting that we take the time to appreciate Malala and all that she is working for. After being attacked Malala has not stopped her fight to bring awareness to the world about the importance of education for all women and children.

Through out the past year Malala has made great strides towards achieving her goals. Let’s take a look at her journey as told by the Wall Street Journal Blog.

On Oct. 9, 2012, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she returned from school. She had been campaigning for girls education in Pakistan’s Swat valley.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai in Birmingham, England, September 2013.

Getty Images

Ms. Yousafzai, who was 15 at the time of the assassination attempt, was flown to the U.K. for treatment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. In March, after being discharged from the hospital, Ms. Yousafzai began attending Edgbaston High School.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai read a book as she recovered from surgery.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital/Associated Press

Ms. Yousafzai began writing a blog for BBC Urdu under the pseudonym Gul Makai when she was 11. She wrote about life under the Taliban in Swat, in northwestern Pakistan, where several schools were closed.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai leaving hospital in January.

Getty Images

One entry in her online diary was titled “I May Not Go To School Again.” In it, she said she was unsure her school would reopen after the winter vacation. “This time round, the girls were not too excited about vacations because they knew if the Taliban implemented their edict, they would not be able to come to school again,” she wrote. A few public speeches and television interviews later, in December 2009, her father revealed that Ms. Yousafzai was the BBC blogger.

In April 2013, Ms. Yousafzai appeared in Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

European Pressphoto Agency

Ms. Yousafzai signed a book deal this year. “I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban,” co-written by British journalist Christina Lamb, was released on Oct. 8. A 14-year-old girl, Shazia Ramzan, was also injured in the attack by the Taliban last October. In an interview with India Real Time, Ms. Ramzan said it was unsafe for Ms. Yousafzai to return to the valley. “But I don’t think she will forget us,” she added.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai, left, sat with Ms. Ramzan, at Birmingham Airport in June.

European Pressphoto Agency

On July 12, her 16th birthday, Ms. Yousafzai delivered a speech at the United Nations Youth Assembly. She spoke of the need for education for all children. “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons,” she said. The U.N. named July 12 “Malala Day.”

Pictured, a woman held a brochure at the U.N. headquarters on July 12.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Ms. Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee in history. The average age of a peace prize laureate is 62. Ms. Yousafzai is one of 259 nominees, including 50 organizations, this year. The winner will be announced on Friday, Oct. 11.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai signed U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s guestbook at the U.N. headquarters in New York.

Associated Press

In September, Ms. Yousafzai opened the Library of Birmingham, one of the biggest public libraries in the world.

Pictured, Ms. Yousafzai during the opening ceremony.

Getty Images

Two weeks later, Ms. Yousafzai received Amnesty International’s highest award. The Ambassador of Conscience Award was presented to her by U2 frontman Bono.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Ms. Yousafzai won the International Children’s Peace Prize in September. “I was just one target of their violence. There are many others for whom we must continue,” Ms. Yousafzai said in her acceptance speech.

Pictured, the teenager received her award at a ceremony in the Netherlands.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Last night, on the eve of the anniversary of her attack,  Malala appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

“Describing itself as a fake news program, The Daily Show draws its comedy and satire from recent news stories, political figures, media organizations…The final segment is devoted to a celebrity interview, with guests ranging from actors and musicians to nonfiction authors and political figures.”

It was during this last segment that Malala appeared. Host Jon Stewart, who is usually quick to make jokes towards his guests could only marvel at the courage, confidence and character of Malala. Throughout the segment, Stewart was noticeably in awe, saying at one point, “Nothing feels better than making you laugh.”

It is almost impossible not to be completely awe-struck and inspired when listening to Malala speak. When asked about the state of Swat and how she decided to be the voice of the women and children Malala responded:

“Why should I wait for someone else,” said Malala when explaining why she put herself at risk. “Why should I wait for the government, the army that they would help us? Why don’t I raise my voice?… And I said, ‘I need to tell the world what is happening. I need to tell the world that Swat is fighting against terrorism.”

Stewart was particularly astonished with Malala’s response when she described how she would react if the Taliban were to come after her. Watch her response in the video below.

Watch the full interview here:

Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show: Part 1

Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show: Part 2

Malala Yousafzai on The Daily Show: Part 3

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