By Hailey Abdilla
On July 12, 1997, in Mingora, Pakistan, Malala entered the world. Girl births were seldom celebrated in Swat where she was born, but her family was determined to provide Malala with all the educational opportunities that boys had. Malala’s father was a teacher and the owner of an all-girls school in their home valley of Swat, gifting Malala with an infatuation with learning and knowledge.
However, by 2008 the Taliban had taken over and girls were banned from going to school when Malala was just eleven years old. Despite the horrific threats of violence at the hands of the Taliban, Malala remained determined to advocate for education for all. She started a blog with the help of her dad in which she described life under the Taliban under a pen name, Gul Makai. Malala bravely went back to school in 2012, until a masked gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the side of the head—she was just fifteen. Malala was airlifted to a hospital in Birmingham, England where she made a courageous and miraculous recovery. Following her hospitalization, Malala created the Malala Fund with her dad in order to raise money and advocate for girls’ education.
Her charitable work earned her the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, making her the youngest person to receive this prestigious award. Malala studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University and graduated in 2020. Malala continues to travel all over the world to hear stories from different young women who have been denied education and with 130 million girls still out of school worldwide, the work her charity does now is more important than ever.