Malala Yousafzai, 14, has become a voice for education and women’s rights in Pakistan. Malala has been an Internet blogger, or writer, since she was 11 years old. In 2011 she was awarded Pakistan’s National Peace Award for her bravery in writing about the difficulties of life and education in the shadow of the Taliban. She has spoken publicly about children’s rights and been nominated for an international children’s peace prize.
On October 9, 2012, Malala was shot on her way home from school in Mingora, Pakistan. The Taliban group Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) took responsibility for the attack. The group says the attack should serve as a warning to others. TTP’s members follow a strict version of Islam and believe girls should not go to school. Malala was targeted because she is vocal about girls’ rights to education in Swat Valley, Pakistan.
Support for Malala poured in over social media and from members of the international human-rights community. Nearly 100,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Malala to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown launched a United Nations (U.N.) petition in Malala’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala.” The petition demanded that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015. More than a million people signed it. To further their mission, the U.N. declared November 10 Malala Day. Brown said the day honors Malala and shows the world that people of all sexes, all backgrounds and all countries stand behind her.
Malala is recovering well and continues to give hope to millions of people around the world who are working for good causes.
For courageously standing up for girls’ right to education and giving a voice to the voiceless, Malala Yousafzai is a nominee for TFK’s 2012 Person of the Year.