Have you ever read a story that shakes you to the core and brings tears to your eyes no matter how many times you read it? It happened to me when I learned about Malala – a courageous young girl who almost died because she was going to school.
Malala was born in 1997, in the Swat Valley of Pakistan. She was raised with strong academic values – her father ran a learning institution in the city center. But in 2007, the Taliban held control over many parts of Pakistan and with that came almost daily suicide bombs and the destruction of 400 schools. Girls were banned from attending school, watch television and do any extracurricular activities. Little but fierce Malala stood up with her father to fight for the rights of education and soon became known in the country as an advocate for girl’s free education.
At the age of 11 she even blogged on the BBC site about the dire situation in Pakistan and how scared she was to attend school. In 2011, she was awarded The International Peace Prize and Pakistan’s National Peace Prize Award for all her advocacy. In 2012, Malala was on her way home from school when two Taliban soldiers requested the school bus to stop and asked for Malala by name and proceeded to shoot her 3 times. One of the bullets was a shot to the head and after being rushed to a hospital in Pakistan they determined they couldn’t perform the brain surgery needed for her to live, so she was airlifted to an intensive care unit in Birmingham, England.
A few life threatening surgeries later and months of therapy, Malala was back on her feet stronger than ever! She was attending school in England and 12 months after the shooting was standing in front of all our world leaders at the United Nations speaking about her experience and determination to continue fighting for education. After creating an organization with her father called, The Malala Fund, she continued traveling and speaking all over the world. In 2014, at the age of 17, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize – she became the youngest person to ever receive the award.
On this very special day of International Women’s Rights, she was the first person who came to my mind because she inspires me and whenever I need motivation to pursue my dreams I think of Malala, the little girl who got shot for going to school but kept fighting to change the world.