Malala Yousafzai

Founder, Malala Fund

Malala Yousafzai also known mononymously as Malala, is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school.

 

Her advocacy has grown into an international movement, and according to former Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, she has become "the most prominent citizen" of the country. In early 2009, when she was 11–12, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Taliban occupation of Swat. The following summer, journalist Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. She rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by activist Desmond Tutu. On 9 October 2012, while on a bus in the Swat District, after taking an exam, Yousafzai and two other girls were shot by a Taliban gunman in an assassination attempt in retaliation for her activism; the gunman fled the scene. Yousafzai was hit in the head with a bullet and remained unconscious and in critical condition. The attempt on her life sparked an international outpouring of support for Yousafzai.

 

Following her recovery, Yousafzai became a prominent activist for the right to education. Based in Birmingham, she co-founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organisation with Shiza Shahid, and in 2013 co-authored I Am Malala, an international best seller. In 2012, she was the recipient of Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and the 2013 Sakharov Prize. In 2014, she was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Aged 17 at the time, she was the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. In 2015, Yousafzai was a subject of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary He Named Me Malala.

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