Malala Yousafzai

Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Early Life and Actions

Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, located in the Swat Valley. Her father founded a school that she and other girls attended. She loved going to school, and was deeply affected when the Taliban invaded the Swat Valley and attacked girls' schools. Yousafzai spoke against Taliban rule multiple times. In 2009, she blogged for BBC under the nom de plume Gul Makai, and was later revealed. She blogged and spoke about the Taliban's control in her country. Yousafzai received Pakistan's National Youth Peace Prize in 2011. Though she knew of the dangers in speaking out against the Taliban, she continued to do so because she knew it was important for her and other girls' to have equal rights and education. She has determination and perserverance. When Malala was 14, she was on a bus ride with her schoolmates, and was shot in the head by a member of the Taliban. She and her family migrated to Birmingham, England, where they live now. Malala recovered, and continued to speak about her right to an education. She has published an autobiography. She won the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. In October 2014, she received the Nobel Peace Prize, making her the youngest person to ever do so.

What Makes Malala a Leader?

Malala is brave. She speaks peacefully, despite being treated so terribly by the Taliban. During her life, she has had to learn to be determined and fearless. Her impact on others is visible more people are able to see that women's rights and education is important. She teaches girls that it is okay to stand up for themselves in difficult situations. She is able to treat people with upmost kindness, and I believe that I share that quality with her. I look up to Malala because she is brave and inspiring. I have been following her since 2011, and seeing her win the Nobel Peace Prize has inspired me to talk about her with other people and not to be afraid to speak up about issues such as women's rights. I believe that if she had stopped speaking about her rights to an education after being shot, then she would no longer be thought of as such an inspiring girl. To be a leader, you must treat all with kindness, respect, be determined, and above all, be brave. As Malala Yousafzai said, "All I want is an education, and I am afraid of no one."