“All I want is an education, and I am afraid of no one.”
These words were spoken by one of the most influential civil rights activists of our time, Malala Yousafzai. She is a Pakistani woman who is fighting for education rights for girls all around the world. Today, July 12th, has been declared Malala Day in honor of her birthday and is a holiday celebrated all over the world.
He learned of her passion for helping others from her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who is also a education rights activist who started a school so all children can learn and openly opposed the Taliban’s efforts to oppress education throughout the region, especially education rights to women.
In 2009, as the Taliban’s hold intensified, a twelve year old Malala began writing a blog expressing her beliefs about education rights and fears of her school that we love so much being shut down. This was a big deal since there were so many restrictions on what people could do and where they could be. Television and music were both banned and women were not allowed to go shopping.
After writing on her blog for two years, in 2011 she won Pakistan’s very first National Youth Peace Prize and was also nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize, which she would later win in 2013. In the same year Malala and her father established the Malala fund to help bring attention to the social and economic impacts of education for girls and also to help empower girls and give them voice of their own so they can fights the injustices they face.
In December of 2014, she received a Nobel Peace Prize alongside an activist for children’s education rights in India named Kailash Satyarthi. To add to this amazing accomplishment, she used her prize money of over one million dollars to establish a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.
Now nineteen, Malala is still fighting for education rights and will continue to do so for many years to come.