The right to education
Youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner
Malala is from Mingora, in northern Pakistan, where girls do not usually go to high school. But Malala loves learning. Encouraged by her father, who ran the local school, Malala broke with tradition and went to high school to continue her education.
Girls are banned from school
When the Taliban took over parts of Pakistan in 2007, everything changed. Television, music and cinema were banned, women could not go to the market and girls were stopped from going to school. 150 schools were blown up by the Taliban in 2008. “My friends and I don’t understand what is so wrong about going to school. My father says that the Taliban are afraid of pens.”
Malala took part in a peace march organized by her school, and appeared on a BBC Urdu chat show. "I was really excited,'' she said, ''because I knew that everyone in Pakistan could hear me, but that’s why I said: How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" That is when she started writing a blog for the BBC. Writing under a pseudonym, she described her passion for learning and the oppression of the Taliban. Her blog was an inspiration to many.
Attacked for going to school
Malala was nominated in 2011 for the International Children’s Peace Prize, in recognition of her bravery in speaking out for every girl's right to an education. She did not win, but by now she was a global figure, invited to speak around the world. In October 2012, Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus, identified Malala, and shot her in the head.
To stop or continue
Malala was brought to the United Kingdom, where she recovered from the attack and stayed with her family. In 2013, she was awarded the International Children’s Peace Prize and given a standing ovation in The Hague. Her resolve strengthened. “After the attack,'' she said, ''I only had two options: stop or continue my mission. And I decided to continue. That’s the only way I can see it; even death supports my mission and I mustn’t be afraid anymore.”
A sign of hope
Malala is a symbol of hope and an inspirational role model, particularly for girls. On her 16th birthday, she gave a passionate speech to the United Nations. She was inundated with awards, culminating in the ultimate honor in 2014, the Nobel Peace Prize.
“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
Supported by the KidsRights Care and Study fund, Malala has finished high school and is looking forward to attending university.
Malala is now a household name, giving her a platform to champion the rights of children, and particularly the right of girls to go to school. In 2013, she and her father set up the Malala Fund to bring education to children around the world. KidsRights supports Malala and her family in their efforts to secure an education for girls in Pakistan.
Our International Children's Peace Prize Project Fund supports five new education projects in Pakistan, involving nearly 7,500 children, with an emphasis on girls. Malala was personally involved in the development of two of these projects, one providing schooling and shelter to orphans in her own home town. Many girls helped by these projects want to become teachers themselves in the future, and with more female teachers, more girls will be able to go to school.
“I want to live in a world where education is valued in every corner of the globe because no one is excluded from it.”
Malala is a founding member of The KidsRights Youngsters; a unique youth-led advocacy and awareness-raising platform for International Children’s Peace Prize winners, that aims to realize children’s rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. As leading young changemakers, they act locally, speak out to world leaders, influence policy, and engage children and young people worldwide. What these inspiring youngsters have achieved on their own is amazing. But that is just the beginning. With our support, their ambition to change the world can be limitless.
Malala, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner to date
Malala is a role model for all young changemakers around the globe. At just 17 years old, she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014, along KidsRights’ long-time partner, children's rights and education advocate Kailash Satyarthi.
Malala's celebration of International Children’s Peace Prize nominees
In 2016, a record number of 120 children were nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize; their stories were boosted by KidsRights through social media, celebrating the power of children in every corner of the world. Malala was inspired by their determination:
“I strongly encourage everyone to read the stories of the brave children who are nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize 2016. They are proof that bravery and courage are not dependent on age. They demonstrate that anyone can act against violations of children’s rights and become a changemaker. They give us hope that change can happen.”
At KidsRights, we take care to form lasting relationships with our International Children's Peace Prize winners, as they grow and develop. We support them in their endeavors to be heard on the world stage, to make a practical difference to the lives of the children across the world, and to inspire other children to be changemakers just like them. Your generous support allows us to do that, enabling courageous young people like Malala to lead the way.