Malala’s Fight for an Education
Writer’s Workshop E
In today’s society, children are told to leave the problems to the “grown-ups,” and stand idly by even through the horrors of terrorism. But what happens when a child tries to make a difference? Malala was only 12 when she took a stance against the Taliban forces invading her community. Malala’s efforts directly helped solve the problems in her society, and she hopes to solve many more. Malala is a perfect example of an activist because she saw a problem in her community and worked through obstacles and even life-threatening situations to solve them.
Malala was born on July 12, 1997 to Ziauddin and Toor Pekai Yousafzai in Mingora, Pakistan. Mingora is part of a larger area, known as Swat Valley. Swat Valley is a beautiful valley containing mountains, plains, rivers, and forests. When Malala was born, Swat Valley was also a popular tourist destination.
Malala and her family’s troubles began when the Taliban attempted to invade their home. In 2007, the Taliban took control of Swat, putting many harsh restrictions on the civilians living there, like banning television and music. Citizens who disobeyed these rules were sometimes publicly executed. In 2008, the Taliban banned girls from going to school, simply because they didn’t like western-style education, and especially didn’t like the idea of girls being educated. Malala’s school was set to close down because of the risk.
Malala decided to stand for the right to education. In an attempt to spread awareness about the educational situation, Malala started writing for BBC about what life was like in under the Taliban. In the meantime, the Pakistani army came into Swat to attempt to force the Taliban out. This caused much fighting as well as a flood of refugees, which included Malala’s family. After seeing Malala’s “blog,” the New York Times created a documentary on Malala’s fight for girl’s education in Swat. In 2011, the Pakistani army was finally able to force the Taliban to retreat. This meant that Malala’s school was able to re-open. Malala continued the fight for the right to an education, and won Pakistan’s first “National Youth Peace Prize”.
Malala’s activism did not go unnoticed by the Taliban. In 2012, Malala’s school bus was boarded by a gunman. The gunman shot Malala in the head, along with two other girls. Malala was flown to a hospital, where part of her skull was removed. She was then moved to England for further treatment. Miraculously, Malala survived and was able to leave the hospital in January of 2013. Two months later, she started attending school in Birmingham, England. Malala’s recovery transformed both herself and the lives of children all around the world by giving them hope and inspiration.
Malala’s fight for girl’s education did not stop there. In October of 2013, she and her father set up a fund to help girls get an education. She also wrote a book titled I Am Malala. In 2014, Malala went to Nigeria following the Boko Haram kidnappings, where 276 students were taken from their school. Malala and Kailash Satyarthi, another activist, received the Nobel Peace Prize in December of 2014. Malala invited girls from all across the globe to attend the Nobel Prize ceremony. Malala didn’t want to help just her own society, she wanted to help girls from around the world too.
Malala is a great example of a change maker because she saw a problem in her society and worked hard to correct it. Even after she had fixed the problems in her community, she tried to help others in similar situations. Even as a child, Malala’s effort has helped millions across the globe, both through her direct outreach as well as her book. Malala’s work shows that people of any age can make a difference in the world.
“Malala Yousafzai Biography.” The Biography.com Website, A&E Television Networks, 5 Mar. 2018, www.biography.com/people/malala-yousafzai-21362253.
“Malala's Story.” Malala Fund, www.malala.org/malalas-story/.
“Introduction of Swat.” Visit Swat Valley, Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan, www.visitswat.org/Introduction.html.
“Why the Taliban Targets Schools - BBC Newsbeat.” BBC News, BBC, 17 Dec. 2014, www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/30521100/why-the-taliban-targets-schools.
Melvin, Don. “Boko Haram Kidnapping in Nigeria, One Year Later.” CNN, Cable News Network, 14 Apr. 2015, www.cnn.com/2015/04/14/africa/nigeria-kidnapping-anniversary/index.html.