Malala Yousafzai: What you need to know about the Pakistani activist for girls’ education


Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai is known around the world for her activism for gender equality.

In 2014, Yousafzai, then 17, became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work protecting children from slavery, extremism and child labor. In her home country of Pakistan, she made it clear that girls have the right to education. She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman while driving a school bus at the age of 15. She recovered and continued to fight the oppression of girls around the world.

She told The Associated Press this month: “I think when you raise your voice it can have an impact and it can bring about change. What will make me pessimistic is if we do nothing. So as long as we keep doing our part, there’s optimism, there’s hope. I think it’s just the silence that keeps things going as they are. “

She holds hope in a sometimes bleak world, and she’s also a fan of cartoons – now she brings her love of television and filmmaking to Apple TV + as the new liberal celebrity content creator.

“When I was growing up it was Cartoon Network and, you know, seeing ‘Tom and Jerry’, ‘Courage’, ‘Scooby Doo’ and all those cartoon TV shows. know that there is a kind of world in cartoons where you can escape the reality around you and laugh, laugh and be entertained. You know, I’ve watched humorous Bollywood movies in Hollywood, and I’m a huge fan of animation too. I did not miss any animated film. It keeps you engaged and entertained and also gives you some really nice messages. “

Yousafzai, 23, who graduated from Oxford last June, announced earlier this month that it has partnered with Apple on a multi-year deal to develop dramas, documentaries, comedies, entertainment and series for children.

“I really want to do documentaries and unscripted shows, and that will cover a lot – hopefully my own trip as well – and the amazing girls that I meet … But there is so much more to explore and learn. am excited. You know, I’m still at the stage where I’m exploring ideas. I can tell you that there are so many amazing ideas and it’s so hard to pick one. “


Yousafzai was shot in the head on October 9, 2012 while driving a bus from the school in her hometown of Mingora. A strong supporter of girls’ education, she chronicled the Taliban’s abuses and the challenges of daily life under Islamic rule in a blog, which made her a target.

She was flown to England after the shooting for numerous surgeries to repair her skull.


Since then, she has received worldwide attention and praise from human rights groups for her open stance on education.

She always knew who she was and what she would do.

“I will be a politician in my future. I want to change the future of my country and I want to make education compulsory,” she said in 2013. “I hope that a day will come. [when] the Pakistani people will be free, they will have their rights, there will be peace and every girl and every boy will go to school. “


Since her attack and recovery, Yousafzai has led the Malala Fund, which she says has invested millions in schools and to provide books and uniforms to schoolchildren.

Yousafzai always took pleasure in telling the Taliban that instead of silencing her, they amplified her voice across the world.


However, she drew criticism from some in Pakistan as a Western spokesperson, with some even suggesting that her shoot was staged. Yousafzai has repeatedly responded to critics with a grace far beyond his years, often saying that educating girls is not just a Western ideology.

Yousafzai defended Pakistan and often spoke in her native Pashtun language, always promising to return home.

She eventually returned to Pakistan in 2018, nearly six years after the Taliban shooting.

The 20-year-old returned in May for a four-day visit. She told an audience at the Prime Minister’s Office that she wanted to be back in Islamabad or Karachi even as she was promoting her message on educating girls around the world.

“I have always dreamed for the past five years, to be able to come to my country, every time I travel abroad,” she said, to applause. “Finally, here I am.”

As reality struck home for Yousafzai, his generally assured composure wore off. Her lip quivered and she put her hands on her face to hide her tears. But the courage that came to define Yousafzai quickly returned. She took a deep breath, wiped away the tears, and started talking again.


Many girls consider Yousafzai a hero, but she insists that she doesn’t walk alone.

She told The Associated Press this month: “I have many, many heroes, from my parents to historical figures like Benazir Bhutto, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela. But the people who actually have me and truly inspired are the young girls I have met on my trip Girls from Iraq to Brazil, Nigeria and Kenya Many of these girls have amazing stories they have seen – wars, conflicts . They were displaced. They were forced to marry very early. But they do. They do not give up on their dreams and they are still fighting for the right to education, for their right to a secure future. they are not giving up their fight for education, so why should we? “


Yousafzai hopes to continue building a beloved community through his travels around the world and his good deeds.

“My message to young women is always never to underestimate yourself,” she told The Associated Press this month. “We are often told that you have to get old and get a PhD or something, and then once you’re 50 or 40, you can turn that around. Go this route if you want to, but you can turn things around now. Don’t underestimate the power you have, even in the small actions you take, whether it’s raising awareness, raising money for a cause you believe in, talking to someone who doesn’t. disagree with you … why women’s rights and girls’ rights are important, why climate change is important. All of these things matter. “

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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