At 17, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history for her contribution to World Peace. And she’s just getting started. She recently celebrated a more personal milestone, she graduated from high school. On her new Twitter account, she tweeted, “Graduating from secondary school (high school) is bittersweet for me. I’m excited about my future, but I know that millions of girls around the world are out of school and may never get the opportunity to complete their education.” Malala is doing everything in her power to change that.
She created the Malala Fund with a clear mission, “to see a world where every girl can complete 12 years of free, safe, quality education.” She advocates for girls and equality locally, nationally, and internationally. On a recent visit to Late Night with Stephen Colbert the personable young role model proved she can also perform magic, and charmed the host and audience with a card trick.
Some of the important work her foundation has accomplished is providing radio-based learning programs during the Ebola crisis, providing information technology training in Nairobi, Kenya, helping educate Syrian displaced and refugee children, providing safe place study clubs, and increasing secondary school enrollment.
Born to a teacher and education activist father who believed in treating his children equally, in the Swat Valley area of Pakistan, Malala grew up to also be an outspoken voice for schools and advocate for the education of girls, and secretly wrote a blog for the BBC about the Taliban’s frightening activity in her region including suppressing girls from going to school and forbidding listening to music, and was featured in an American documentary. Angered by the attention the young girl was receiving, a Taliban fighter stormed her school bus and shot her in the head. The shocking act of violence led to worldwide condemnation of terrorism, and took her plight to the world’s stage.
She tells her own story in the 2013 memoir I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World. In a review of the book, the Washington Post exclaimed, “We know how this story ends, with a 15-year-old child taking a bullet for a whole generation. It is difficult to imagine a chronicle of a war more moving, apart from perhaps the diary of Anne Frank. With the essential difference that we lost that girl, and by some miracle, we still have this one.”
Malala will be traveling around the world this summer on a Girl Power Trip, visiting North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa to talk with girls about barriers to education and to share their stories, before her next adventure, starting college in the fall.
Author, Nobel laureate, public speaker, and education activist Malala Yousafzai, with her fierce love of learning, phenomenal courage, strength, and intelligence is a role model, and inspiration especially for young girls. Malala can inspire us to persevere, and stay true to the calling of our own life’s purpose. Here are 15 enlightening and empowering quotations from Malala Yousafzai.
“I soon realized that a girl’s voice is powerful and it can bring change in the community.” – Malala Yousafza
“There are many children across the world – more than 130 million girls who can’t go to school – and if we do not speak out for them, they will be a generation lost. They will never get this opportunity and this is something we should consider an emergency. We should not ignore it. This is the time that we speak out for it now. We tell our leaders – we tell our local politicians – that we want you to focus on education.” – Malala Yousafza
“We need to think ahead. We need to think about preventing wars from starting as well. And I think for that, investment in education is the key, investing especially in the education of women and girls.” – Malala Yousafza
“With education comes questioning, with education comes critical thinking. With education comes more opportunities. People go forward. People see and the world from a different perspective.” – Malala Yousafza
“I’m not scared of the Taliban at all. I might be afraid of ghosts and like dragons and those things, but I’m not afraid of the Taliban.” – Malala Yousafza
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” – Malala Yousafza
“And so there is some reason that I’m surviving and I think that reason is to help people and to continue this fight for education and now education has become part of my life – working for it, fighting for it, this is my life now”. – Malala Yousafza
“I have often said that I share my story not because it is unique—but because it is not.” – Malala Yousafza
“You must not treat others with cruelty. … You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education.” – Malala Yousafza
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” – Malala Yousafza
“Education is education. We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow.” Education is neither Eastern nor Western, it is human.” – Malala Yousafza
“If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?” – Malala Yousafza
“I don’t want to be thought of as the “girl who was shot by the Taliban” but the “girl who fought for education.” This is the cause to which I want to devote my life.” – Malala Yousafza
“We liked to be known as the clever girls. When we decorated our hands with henna for holidays and weddings, we drew calculus and chemical formulae instead of flowers and butterflies.” – Malala Yousafza
“We were scared, but our fear was not as strong as our courage.” – Malala Yousafza
Author Bio: Tara Collum
Tara Collum lives in Toronto and grew up in Muskoka. She is the volunteer social media coordinator for the Death Row Support Project @COB_DRSP and co-writes a web serial at splitsvilleblog.wordpress.com. She is all about tea, books, mumblecore, music, long walks, and self-improvement. Follow Tara on twitter @99percentsun