Malala Yousafzai is a school pupil from Pakistani who is known for her courageous efforts in education and women’s rights. When she was only 11 in early 2009, she began writing a blog for the BBC under a pseudonym about her life under Taliban rule and the hardships that she and other children faced.
The Taliban had banned girls from attending school and she wrote about their attempts to take control of the Swat Valley and her views on education for girls. The following year, the New York Times filmed a documentary as the Pakistani military intervened within the region. Malala was given a number of interviews in print and television as well as becoming the chairperson of the District Child Assembly Swat.
Since then, she has been the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize in history and was named one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”. In October of 2012, Taliban gunmen shot Malala in the head in an attempt to assassinate her. She remained in critical condition for several days and was flown to hospital in the UK to be rehabilitated. It took her several months to recover, but in January 2013 she was released from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. She has a titanium plate in her head and a cochlear implant fitted to compensate for the damage caused by the bullet.
Malala Day – November 10th
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, commemorated November 10th as Malala Day. This day is intended to represent the importance of insuring an education for all children around the world. It was created in honour of Malala Yousafzai and Ban Ki-moon described her as a “Global Symbol” of the right to education for every young girl. The day commemorates Malala and the 32 million girls like her around the world who do not currently have the right to attend an education.
Malala has given her support to the Raise Your Hand campaign founded by Plan UK. On her birthday, July 12th 2013, there will be the first youth takeover of the UN General Assembly in New York. On this day, Malala will be presenting her first official public address since recovering from being shot. This will be her 16th birthday.
On this day, young people from around the world will get together and agree on a “Call to Action” for education and an end to poverty. This will be an important event to highlight the importance of education for children all over the world, especially in countries where young people like Malala are not allowed to go to school and receive the education that can lift them out of poverty.
You can join us on London’s Southbank for a live screening of Malala’s address from New York. Plan UK will be hosting a youth-led discussion and a film premiere, so visit www.plan-uk.org to find out more information.