Nobel Prize Winner: Malala Yousafzai
At just 17 Malala Yousafzai has become the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and we couldn’t think of anyone who deserves it more!
“Our beautiful dreams turned to nightmares. Education went from being a right to being a crime. But when my world suddenly changed, my priorities changed, too. I had two options: One was to remain silent, and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up, and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.”
Since she was just 11 Malala has been campaigning for the right to education for girls in her homeland of Pakistan. She wrote a blog for the BBC called The Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl, which started her on her path to becoming an activist. During that period the Taliban had banned education for girls, but as soon as it lifted Malala and her school friends were back in the classroom despite the danger just going to school could bring.
When Malala was 15 years old she was shot in the head by the Taliban on the bus on the way home from school, two of her friends were also shot and wounded. All three girls survived. Malala was rushed to hospital and after a few days flown to the UK for surgery. People across the world were shocked by the incident and there was an outpouring of support for Malala. She gradually recovered from the ordeal and has since become a strong voice for children everywhere to have access to education. The UN even named the 14th of July Malala Day in recognition of her work fighting for education for all children.
She has started her own organisation called Malala to campaign for education for all children. The campaign calls on her supporters to be the first to see #thelast, the last child to work in a factory, the last girl forced into early child marriage and the last child out of school.
As you’d expect, she made an amazing and powerful speech when she received the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this week, it’s well worth taking hte time to watch the whole thing.
Here are a few of the most powerful quotes from her speech:
“Education went from being a right to being a crime. But when my world suddenly changed, my priorities changed, too. I had two options: One was to remain silent, and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up, and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up. I am here to stand up for their rights, raise their voice … it is not time to pity them. It is time to take action so it becomes the last time that we see a child deprived of education.”
“In my own village, there is still no secondary school for girls. I want to build one, so my friends can get an education—and the opportunity it brings to fulfil their dreams. That is where I will begin, but it is not where I will stop. I will continue this fight until I see every child in school. I feel much stronger after the attack that I endured, because I know, no one can stop me, or stop us, because now we are millions, standing up together.”
“Dear brothers and sisters, the so-called world of adults may understand it, but we children don’t. Why is it that countries which we call “strong” are so powerful in creating wars but so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard? Why is it that making tanks is so easy, but building schools is so difficult?”
“Dear sisters and brothers, let us become the first generation to decide to be the last. The empty classrooms, the lost childhoods, wasted potential—let these things end with us. Let this be the last time that a boy or a girl spends their childhood in a factory. Let this be the last time that a girl gets forced into early child marriage. Let this be the last time that an innocent child loses their life in war. Let this be the last time that a classroom remains empty. Let this be the last time that a girl is told education is a crime and not a right. Let this be the last time that a child remains out of school. Let us begin this ending. Let this end with us. And let us build a better future right here, right now.”
There has been a huge show of support for Malala across social media and in the spirit of this Malala has given us her top three tips for taking a selfie, even though she doesn’t have a phone!
Check out Malala.org to support her campaign for the right to education for every child.
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