Malala Yousafzai was born on 12 July 1997 in Pakistan. This week marked her 19th birthday, it also marked an important day in education. Malala, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate is a girls’ education activist. She spent her 19th Birthday in Kenya, at the largest refugee camp in the world.
- This girl is a natural educational activist who has a way with words. She just says simple statements in her speeches, that end up being profound quotes. One particular one is “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
- She is brave to fight for what she believes in, despite being shot by the Taliban on the head, for suggesting that girls should go to school. At that young age, she continued to champion for literacy of girls and all children.
- Malala was a blogger under a pseudo-name, for the BBC blog at 14 years. This is just proof that no matter how young, your voice can be heard.
- She was a co-winner of the Nobel Peace prize at only 17 years of age, making her the youngest person to receive that accolade.
- She has and continues to help refugee girls attain education. Last year on her 18th birthday, she spent time with Syrian Refugees and opened the “Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School” near the Syrian border. This provides quality secondary education to more than 200 Syrian girls.
This year on her 19th Birthday, she spent time in Daadab Refugee camp, in Kenya, and continued championing for the education of refugee children. She spoke against the Kenyan Government’s plans to shut down the camp.
- She set up the Malala fund that helps young girls gain literacy skills. In Kenya for example, the Fund supports girls from Nairobi’s slums to enroll in NairoBits’ Girls’ Centers, where they receive training in information and communication technology (ICT) skills, reproductive health, and life skills; and training to prepare them to enter the workforce. The program also assists the girls to find jobs and internships in the technology sector.
- In 2011, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. In response to her rising popularity and national recognition, Taliban leaders voted to kill her.
The right to equal access to education is something worth fighting for. We learn that one person can be a voice to many who are voiceless. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to standing from what you believe in. Malala is my youngest sister’s age, yet she has done a commendable job globally. What will you stand for today?