To celebrate International Education Day 2020, we’re shining the spotlight on one modern-day education hero featured as an inspirational leader in our Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 Young Leaders Awards resources– Malala Yousafzai.
Malala was born in 1997, in a culture that celebrates the success of boys, but her father was determined to give her every opportunity available. He was a teacher and ran a girl’s school in the village that they lived.
Malala loved school but everything changed when the Taliban took control of her town banning girls from going to school. Malala was angry about this, speaking publicly on behalf of the right of girls to learn.
In 2012, a masked gunman boarded Malala’s school bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” He shot her on the side of her head along with her friend. During her recovery, Malala moved to England with her family where her fight for education has not stopped.
Malala established the Malala Fund and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 becoming the youngest ever winner of the prize.
Malala now studies Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford and travels to meet girls all over the world who are fighting poverty, wars, child marriage and gender discrimination to go to school.
“With more than 130 million girls out of school today,there is more work to be done. I hope you will join my fight for education and equality. Together, we can create a world where all girls can learn and lead.”
In 2013, Malala shared this inspirational message at the Youth Takeover of the United Nations:
Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists. I do not even hate the Talib who shot me…
We must not forget that millions of people are suffering from poverty and injustice and ignorance. We must not forget that millions of children are out of their schools. We must not forget that our sisters and brothers are waiting for a bright, peaceful future.
So, let us wage a glorious struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism, let us pick up our books and our pens, they are the most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.