“I tell my story not
because it is unique,
but because it is
the story of many
Welcoming a baby girl is not always cause for celebration in Pakistan — but my father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, was determined to give me every opportunity a boy would have.
I loved school. But everything changed when the Taliban took control of our town in Swat Valley. The extremists banned many things — like owning a television and playing music — and enforced harsh punishments for those who defied their orders. And they said girls could no longer go to school.
In January 2008 when I was just 11 years old, I said goodbye to my classmates, not knowing when — if ever — I would see them again.
In October 2012, on my way home from school, a masked gunman boarded my school bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” He shot me on the left side of my head.
I woke up 10 days later in a hospital in Birmingham, England. The doctors and nurses told me about the attack — and that people around the world were praying for my recovery.
It was then I knew I had a choice: I could live a quiet life or I could make the most of this new life I had been given. I determined to continue my fight until every girl could go to school.
With my father, who has always been my ally and inspiration, I established Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve a future she chooses. In recognition of our work, I received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014 and became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate.
And every day I fight to ensure all girls receive 12 years of free, safe, quality education.
I travel to many countries to meet girls fighting poverty, wars, child marriage and gender discrimination to go to school. Malala Fund is working so that their stories, like mine, can be heard around the world.
We invest in developing country educators and activists, like my father, through Malala Fund’s Gulmakai Network. And we hold leaders accountable for their promises to girls.
With more than 130 million girls out of school today, there is more work to be done. I hope you will join my fight for education and equality. Together, we can create a world where all girls can learn and lead.