Malala Yousafzai: An Education Hero


Francez Santos, Journalist/Editor

Do you complain about having to wake up early every day for school? You may think it is a waste of time and effort. However, picture being not allowed to go to school because of gender. That is what happened to girls like Malala Yousafzai. 

Malala was born in Swat, Pakistan. As a young child, she had good-natured parents who persisted in handing Malala chances in a country that preferred boys over girls. Her father and mother enriched her wonderful childhood with reading and playing and the promise of equal rights and enlightenment.  

However, everything changed when the Taliban invaded Pakistan in the year 2007—aiming to take over the people of Swat. The Taliban prohibited activities such as music, TV, and shopping. The punishment for not following the rules was death. 

Once the Taliban banned all girls from attending school, Malala committed herself to strive for the deserved right to an education. In 2008, she started for the BBC under “Gul Makai” (the hero of a local folktale), reporting what life was like under Taliban rule. 

Throughout her writing, she narrated her worries as her friends and classmates vanished from school, terrified to return. Malala mentions wearing unordinary attire instead of the school uniform or her favorite bright-pink outfit to not be noticed. She was resolved to go to school. 

When people began to be fascinated by Malala’s influential writing, the people around her began to become aware of what the Taliban had created. 

Malala still battled for education. Even if so many others were taken out of their homes because of the war between the Taliban and the Pakistani military, she persevered, sparing no effort. In 2009, Malala’s father, Ziauddin, and her were included in a New York Times documentary about everything that happened to them. Both of them expressed their love for discovering and learning, and for Swat, their home. Malala and Ziauddin were against the Taliban’s decisions. 

By the year 2011, the military had regained control over Swat. Girls were ultimately permitted to return to school. Malala received an award, Pakistan’s first National Peace Prize, for her courageous work. 

When the Taliban discovered Malala, the girl that had ruined their plans, they needed to stop her. In 2012, a covered gunman forced his way onto Malala’s school bus, requested for her by name, and shot her directly in the head. 

Phenomenally, she survived the bullet. It essentially traveled down her neck rather than her skull. After that extraordinary miracle, she recovered and continued fighting against discrimination against girls. Similar to her quote, “We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage,” she carried on with her journey.  

Malala founded an organization called the Malala Fund, dedicated to providing educational opportunities for all girls everywhere. At the age of 16, she voiced her beliefs at the United Nations. At 17, she was the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. At 18, she used her organization to open a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. That was not the end of it, though. That was only the beginning. 

In her novel, I Am Malala, she reminds us of the valuable message that “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” Remember, the moment you want to crawl back under your blankets, tell yourself that education is the powerful blade you can ever have, for it will assist you in more ways than you can imagine. 

Information Sources: Teen Trailblazers by Jennifer Calvert and Vesna Asanovic 

Picture Sources: