Leadership - Malala Yousafzai

By: Wardah Nabi

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Who is Malala Yousafzai?

Malala Yousafzai is a young girl who got shot by the Taliban on the left side of her head on October 9th, 2012 when she was on her way home from school in a bus. Since 2009 Malala has been fighting for human rights, peace, and education for all children around the world and has become one of the 100 most influential leaders in the world.

Malala's Background

Malala was born July 12th, 1997 in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan which used to be a popular tourist place, but stopped as the Taliban took over. The Taliban are known for doing many terrorist attacks and killing many innocent people. In early 2009, the Taliban stopped girls from going to school, but this did not Malala to give up on receiving education. She started blogging to BBC about the current situations she and the other people around her were facing because of the Taliban. On October 9th, 2012, a member of the Taliban entered the bus Malala was on when she was going home from school asking the passengers where Malala was. When the other people in the bus turned their head to face Malala, they gave the answer away without knowing the consequences. Malala was then shot in the left side of her head where the bullet then traveled down her neck. This attack has resulted in Malala having to remove a portion of her skull to treat her brain which was swelling. Fortunately, Malala has suffered no major damages but required many surgeries to be treated and was taken to Birmingham, England to receive further care. On March 2013 once her healing was complete, Malala was able to attend school in Birmingham. This story has resulted in massive support for her all around the world. Unfortunately, Malala and her family continuer to receive threats from the Taliban, but this doesn't stop Malala from reaching her dreams as she said, "They can only shoot a body, they cannot shoot my dreams." On October 2014, Malala received the award for the Nobel Peace Prize making her the youngest person to earn it.
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Who Were the People Involved That Made Malala a Leader?

There are many people involved that made Malala the great leader she is today, including her family and friends. Though, one of the people most involved would be her father, Zianddin Yousafzai. This is because her father has always taught Malala to be brave and reach for her dreams and that no matter what happens, never give up. Aamer Ahmed Khan and Abdul Hai Kakar from BBC Urdu have also been involved in making Malala the leader she is today since they have received the blogs she Malala made in Pakistan about the Taliban. They got Malala to blog when Aamer Ahmed Khan and his colleagues decided to have a schoolgirl make a blog about the situation and the Taliban. Abdul Hai Kakar who was in touch with Malala's dad, a school teacher, was able to find Malala where her dad agreed to her making a blog and have it on BBC.

What Actions Did Malala Take to Show Leadership?

Malala took many actions to show leadership. Despite being attacked and shot by the Taliban, Malala learned to fight for her dreams and never give up. Malala shows leadership by fighting for freedom, woman's rights, equality, education for all children, peace, human rights, and more. She encourages others to continue learning through education and help the ones who cannot afford it as well as keep the peace in the world. Malala has also won many awards including the Nobal Peace Prize, Sakharov Prize, Simone de Beauvoir Prize, Honorary Canadian Citizenship, National Youth Peace Prize, and more.
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3 Leadership Traits Malala Demonstrates from Nelson Mandela's 8 Lessons of Leadership

1) Lesson Number 1: Courage is not the absence of fear - it's inspiring others to move beyond it

Malala demonstrates this lesson of leadership because even though she and some of her friends as well got shot by the Taliban, she never showed fear as she said thought to herself, "Malala, you must be brave. You must not be afraid of anyone. You are only trying to get an education. You are not committing a crime." Malala may have been scared at times on the inside, but she never showed that to her her family and friends, including the Taliban and this around her. She continues to go public and do speeches around the world even though the Taliban are still threatening her and her family.

2) Lesson Number 2: Lead from the front - but don't leave your base behind

When Malala and some of her friends got shot by the Taliban, Malala never left those friends behind and brought them with her to England where they can also receive the education they want. Malala also claims that she will never forget the Taliban and what they have done to her, but she does not wish for revenge as she said, "I don't want revenge on the Taliban, I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban." since she greatly dislikes conflicts. As Malala has had the experience of being not able to go to school and have education, she has become the great leader she is today.

3) Lesson Number 7: Nothing is black or white

Malala whishes for all children to have education no matter where they are in the world, but she knows that it is not a very easy task as it may cost a great amount of money and requires a great amount of support, cooperation, and agreement from the people around her. Malala also wishes for equality, human rights, and peace, but even this is not easy to do since it requires cooperation from all around the world. Despite all this, Malala said that she will never give up in reaching her goals and accomplishing her dreams.
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Malala continues to be a courageous, determined, and a faithful girl, as she continues to fight for human rights, peace, and education for all children. As Malala has told many great speeches and still does so today, she continues to inspire many people all around the world.