Malala Yousafzai turns 23, a look back at her journey so far

Pranav Jalan
Sunday, 12 July 2020

'On Malala's birthday, we look back at her achievement through the years'

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Swat valley, Pakistan. She survived an assassination attempt when she was 15-year-old and gained global attention. In 2014, for appreciating her efforts to ensure children's rights, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Best recognised as a Pakistani activist who spoke out publicly, as a youth, against the restriction on girl education imposed by the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan).

Yousafzai was the daughter of an outspoken social worker and educator. Khushal Girls High School and College (Mingora City), her father set up and administered the school she attended. In 2007 the Swat Valley was invaded by the TTP, once a holiday destination.

The TTP under the leadership of Maulana Fazlullah began to implement stringent Islamic law, to shut down schools for girls, bar women from any active social role and to carry out suicide bombings. Yousafzai and her family fled from Mingora for protection, but they came back when tensions and violence relaxed.

Her father took her to a local press club in Peshawar on September 1, 2008, at the age of eleven, to protest the closing of the school. Where she gave her first speech about the Taliban taking their basic right to education. Her speech was made public all over Pakistan. The TTP declared the shut-down of all girl's schools in Swat on 15 January 2009. The BBC approached Yousafzai 's father to find someone to blog for them about the way they were living under the TTP rule. She started writing for BBC Urdu about her daily life under the name of Gul Makai.

Yousafzai made her first television appearance in February 2009, where she was interviewed by Hamid Mir on a national TV. By the end of February, the TTP negotiated a cease-fire against girls and allowed them to take school, provided they wear burkas, as a result of a growing backlash in Pakistan.

On October 9, 2012, while travelling from school, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a TTP gunman. Fazlullah and the TTP took responsibility for her life's attempt. She survived and was taken to England, from Peshawar for surgery.

On 12 July 2013, her 16th birthday, she made her first public appearance for the first time after being shot. She addressed 500 strong audiences in New York City at the United Nations.

A glimpse at Malala's achievements:

  • Nobel Peace Prize 2014
  • Philadelphia Liberty Medal
  • Order of the Smile
  • Glamour Award for The Girls' Hero 2013
  • Shorty Award for Teen Hero, 2015 MalalaFund
  • International Children's Peace Prize
  • National Malala Peace Prize 2011
  • United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights 2013
  • Simone de Beauvoir Prize 2013
  • Ambassador of Conscience Award 2013
  • Anna Politkovskaya Award
  • Mother Teresa Awards 2012
  • Ellis Island Medal of Honor
  • Goodreads Choice Awards Best Memoir & Autobiography
  • 2013 · I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

 

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