In my school library, I saw the Person of the Year issue of Time magazine. We have it at home (my mom is a subscriber), but I hadn’t read it in depth before. So, with a forty-minute lunchtime with nothing planned to do, I picked it up and flipped through it. I ended up reading the article on Malala Yousafzai, who was Time‘s Person of the Year Number Two.
Let me tell you, this girl is amazing.
She is a 15-year-old Pakistani girl who is the daughter of a newsman, a precocious learner, and a role model for girls, leaders, education advocates, and everyone in between.
She spoke out loudly and proudly against the Taliban and against the lack of education for girls in Pakistan and developing countries all around the world. When she was just 11 years old (eleven!), she gave a speech titled “How Dare the Taliban Take Away My Basic Right to Education?” People feared for her because of her “confronting the Taliban so brazenly”, as it’s worded in the article in Time (page 100).
Malala has made so much happen for education. She has supporters including Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister, Megan Smith, a Google Vice President, and Mark Kelly, former astronaut and husband of former senator of Arizona, Gabby Giffords, who also survived a shooting to the head. These supporters helped to found the Malala Fund, named after her, to give grants to organizations and people working in education.
Because of her outspokenness and lack of backing down, the Taliban ordered her to be assassinated. On 9 October 2012, an assassin shot her in the head while she was riding in a “school bus” (no more than a glorified truck–Pakistan was, at that point, spending a mere 2% of GDP on education). However, the bullet grazed her brain, and went behind her left eye, down to her jaw, and ended up being lodged just above her left shoulder blade.
She is was recovering in a hospital in Birmingham, England, where many gifts and cards have been sent to her. Her family has received over 13,000 dollars to fund her recovery! She had been in the hospital for two months, and was just discharged from the hospital on the fifth this month. Instead of the Taliban silencing her, they did the opposite: her story and words are now more powerful than ever.
Malala is more than a girl–she is a hero. She is so inspiring, brave and courageous. She risked her life for her cause, and she’s on the road to recovery. She is just plain amazing. That’s why I signed this online petition to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize–Malala deserves it so much. It only needs 146 more signatures on it.
This girl is going to move a mountain some day, I just know it. Even if she stays in England where there is more security for her, and even if she retires from activism and raises a family, her message will not quiet or slow down. I am honoured to be growing up at the same time as she is.