In America I think we sometimes take getting an education for granted. Children, girls in particular, are not so lucky in other parts of the world. In 2016 my daughter and I had the opportunity to hear Malala Yousafzai speak at the Dunkin Donuts Center, and she was so inspirational. I admire her courage, her love of life and her drive to help others achieve their dreams.
Malala was born in Pakistan in 1997. As a young girl she attended school with several other girls in her village, and her father Ziauddin was their teacher. In 2008 the Taliban came into power, and took control of her town. They banned many things including listening to music and owning a television, and they also said girls were no longer allowed to go to school.
Malala continued going to school anyway, and inspired by her father, who is an educational activist, Malala started speaking out in 2012 saying that girls had a right to an education. Her activism was noticed by the Taliban, and in October of that year, on her way home from school, a masked gunman boarded her school bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” He then shot her in the head.
Miraculously she survived the attack, and 10 days later she woke up in the hospital in Birmingham, England. She learned what happened from the hospital staff, and heard of the outpouring of love and support coming in from people around the world.
Malala recovered from her injuries, and rather than being silenced by the violent attack, she and her father continued to advocate for women's education. They established the Malala Fund to help women and girls around the world, and December of 2014, she was recognized for her hard work and bravery when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Photo Credit: Kristin Lessard / H & I