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The Story of Malala Yousafzai: The Youngest Nobel Laureate and Activist Who Faced Death from Taliban

Updated on May 16, 2020

In October 9, 2012 a 15-year old Pakistani girl alongside other pupils and teachers boarded a small bus waiting outside the gates of the school she was learning at. She was heading back home after doing an exam at the school.

The bus she had baorded was flagged down by two Taliban gunmen, 91 metres from the school. One of the gunmen enquired who was Malala as she's famously known. The gunman threatened if no one spoke up, he would shoot all of them dead.

Her identity was revealed through the fear-stricken looks of the young girls in the bus towards her direction. The gunman shot Malala on the head and fled together with his colleague. Two girls were wounded during the incident.

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai | Source

It took ten minutes before aid arrived on the scene. Yousafzai was airlifted to a military hospital in Peshawar. The doctors operated on her for five hours before successful dislodging the bullet which had stuck in her shoulder. The bullet had traveled 18 inches from the side of her left eye through her neck to her shoulder.

In October 11, 2012 Yousafzai was moved to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi.

The news of the incident spread internationally. Leaders and individuals condemned the shooting and several people offered to pay for her treatment. Further surgery was needed to bring her condition into a stable state.

Doctors and her family agreed she should be treated at Queen Elizabeth hospital. The Pakistani government catered for Yousafzai's costs including medical, accomodation, migration and of those who had accompanied her.

In October 17, 2012 Yousafzai had come out of comma and was responding well to treatment. She was discharged from the hospital in January 3, 2012 and rehabilitated in their family's temporal home in West Midlands. In her rehabilitation center, she underwent weekly physiotherapy.

In February 2, 2013 she underwent another surgery to reconstruct her skull and restore her hearing. Her brain wasn't damaged and in a matter of weeks, her condition was stable.

Who is Malala?

Malala is a young woman who was born in July 12, 1997 in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

From a young age, inspired by her father, Muhammed Ali Jinnah and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Malala was vocal on the abuse of humans rights especially the right of women to education.

This began on September 2008 when Malala was taken by her father to Peshawar to speak to a local press. She was heard saying, "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" The Taliban militants had some control on the Swat region and on various occasions had banned watching television and listening to music, banned women from going shopping and denying girls from going to school among other restrictions.

Yousafzai's father enlisted her as an anonymous blogger for BBC Urdu in late 2008. The group ached to cover the daily activities from a personal perspective of a person residing in the region. They wanted a school girl to volunteer under a pseudonym but most families shied away from enlisting their daughters for fear of reparation.

Under the nickname of Gul Makai, her entries of the daily living of her people in the region including herself and her viewpoints, wishes and hopes were first entered in BBC Urdu's blog in January 3, 2009. She would handwrite notes which she gave to a reporter who scanned the notes and emailed them to the blog's admin.

The world learnt how life was under in the Swat region under the influence of Taliban militants. Her blog entries ended in March 12, 2009. Afterwards, a New York Time reporter approached her and her father about filming a documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region to wipe out the militants.

Her blogging identity was revealed in various articles that were published online beginning in December 2009. She appeared on television to voice her concern on female education.

In October 2011, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa nominated her for International Children's Peace Prize. The award was won by Michael Myeroft of South Africa.

In December 19, 2011 Yousafzai was awarded the National Peace Award for youth by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani.

The militants weren't happy with her advocacy for female education. She received death threats which were published on newspapers, slipped under her family's door and on Facebook.

What She's Doing Now

From 2013 to 2027, Yousafzai attended Edgbaston High School and is currently studying for a bachelor's degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

She co-authored an international best seller book, I am Malala in 2013.

In addition to the award of National Youth Prize, she's also awarded Sakharov Prize in 2013.

Together with Kailash Satyarthi of India, they were awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 making her the youngest recipient of the award at the age of 17.

Yousafzai was featured in the Oscar-shortlisted interview, He Named Me Malala which was released in 2015.

She was featured in Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the world in the magazine's issues of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

She became the youngest person to address the House of Commons in Canada and was awarded honorary Canadian citizenship.

She co-founded a nonprofit organization with Shiza Shahid, Malala Fund.

Yousafzai still voices out her concern for the right of women to education.

© 2020 Alianess Benny Njuguna


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