She was born in Mingora, Pakistan in July 1997. The daughter of a teacher, her father encouraged in her a love of learning. For the first few years of her childhood, life was pretty normal and happy. It wasn’t until the Taliban tried to take control that things began to change.
Malala attended a school that her father had founded. When the Taliban began attacking girls’ schools in late 2008, Malala gave a speech in protest. Her talk was entitled, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?”
In 2009 she expanded her efforts by blogging for the BBC on what it’s like to live under the Taliban’s threat to deny her education. She used the pseudo name Gul Makai to protect her anonymity, but by December she had been revealed as the blogger.
Malala’s platform and activism continued to grow, and her efforts did not go unnoticed. She was honored with numerous awards including Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize. Unfortunately, the Taliban also took note of her growing popularity and by age 14 had issued a death warrant for her.
On a fateful day in October 2012 Malala was riding the bus home from school. A man boarded the bus and asked, Who is Malala? When her friends looked at her, he shot her in the left side of the head. Critically injured she was air-lifted to a military hospital, and then the UK for specialized care. She was 15 years old.
Her recovery was quite extensive, requiring multiple surgeries and repair of a facial nerve to fix the paralyzed left side of her face. But Malala remained upbeat and optimistic. In her book, I am Malala, she recounted a conversation with her mother: “I reassured my mother that it didn’t matter to me if my face was not symmetrical. Me, who had always cared about my appearance, how my hair looked! But when you see death, things change. “It doesn’t matter if I can’t smile or blink properly,” I told her. “I’m still me, Malala. The important thing is God has given me my life.”
Malala continues to be a global advocate for the education of girls. Her efforts remind us of the millions of girls around the world who are denied a formal education because of social, political or economic reasons. For her bravery and fierce determination we are honored to add her to our list of Women Who Dare. She is a force to be reckoned with, and the best part is she’s just getting started.
Her commitment to speaking up so that “those without a voice can be heard” inspires us all to use our voice to affect change. So tell us, what is God asking you to speak up about? Will you dare to stand for others?
We sure hope so! Because the only way we’ll ever see change is to be the change. We’re grateful Malala is leading the way!
Hugs and Blessings ❤