Malala Yousafzai

Jibran Khalil 3A English (Citations from Digital Edition)

Life Brief

Malala Yousafzai was named after Malalai of Maiwand, a heroine of Afghanistan history. Yousafzai was born in the charming mountains of Swat Valley, Pakistan, a place where hospitality and community held the greatest values. The natural beauty of the valleys brought tourists from all over the world, with rocky mountains that scraped the sky and clear waters of natural beauty. She was born on July 12, 1997.

After she faced conflicts in her life, she moved to the bustling city of Birmingham, England, where she experienced a more Westernized culture with luxuries she had never seen before; however, she lost the simplicity and community of her earlier home.

Malala Yousafzai was born to a family of Pashtuns. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, was an active supporter of women's rights and education. This influenced her views later in her life. Tor Pekai Yousafzai, her mother, stayed at home without an education. Malala Yousafzai has two younger brothers, Khushal Yousafzai and Attal Yousafzai, who she loves but never gets along with.

She and her family are devoted Sunni Muslims who live their lives based on the principles of Islam.

Malala Yousafzai went to a school owned by her father, Khushal Public School. After being shot and moving to England, she went to Edgbaston High School.

She is currently eighteen years old and is not married.

When Malala Yousafzai was born, Swat Valley was a tourist attraction. Tourists from all over the world came to view the lush greenery and beautiful mountains. That would soon change as the Taliban began to take over. It began when a local religious "expert", Fazlullah, began radicalizing the city by talking about the evils of Western society. Soon, many of the people of the village began to become extremists. Some joined the Taliban while others remained devout supporters of its mission. Malala Yousafzai would later be abused by terrorists who persecuted her for her identity as an educational activist for women.

Malala Yousafzai continued her education as the Taliban raided houses, killed innocent people, and blew up buildings and schools.

As she learned about how the Taliban was brainwashing thousands of people, Malala Yousafzai gave talks to the citizens of Pakistan, discussing the corrupt politicians and propaganda of the Taliban. In 2009, she began her own blog discussing her life in parallel to the Taliban.

Her father was an anti-Taliban speaker who supported his daughter's actions. Together, they went around the country and spoke to politicians, news stations, and activists.

Malala Yousafzai started receiving death threats when she was fourteen. Her father was worried for her safety since many local schools and buildings had been blown up. The Pakistani government had declared the valleys of Mingora Taliban free, yet, the Taliban were slowly returning.

On October 9, 2012, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head on her bus ride home from school. The world watched as she was transferred to a military hospital in Peshawar. Later, she was transferred to Birmingham, England.

After being shot, the message of Malala Yousafzai still resonates across the world. The activist won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 and set up an organization to support the education of millions of children across the world. The organization is known as the Malala Fund.

Malala Yousafzai currently resides in England, where she is finishing her education. Millions of children and women are receiving equal rights and an opportunity to gain an education because of her courageous actions.

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Background Symbolism

The background picture of a cup of coffee symbolizes Malala Yousafzai's personality. It is sweet and sugary, like the activist's peaceful views and kindness. Coffee brings happiness to people. However, coffee also has a more powerful side. It wakes people up. Malala Yousafzai woke the world up and showed us what kinds of injustices were happening to women around the world. Coffee is sweet, but it can also be strong and powerful. This is similar to Yousafzai; she has kindness in her heart, but when the time comes, she stands up and is a powerful woman. Her biography exemplifies this by saying, "Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead he made me as tall as the sky" (Yousafzai and Lamb 154). This displays how Malala Yousafzai is strong and powerful. She changed the world, but, in essence, is a small little girl just hoping to grow a few more inches. Malala Yousafzai and a cup of coffee both share similar characteristics; sweet but strong.

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One significant fact about Malala Yousafzai is that she still loves her home even after all the negative memories she has from there. Schools were blown up, terrorists murdered many people, and she was shot there. Floods raged and people died, and yet, Malala Yousafzai still loves her hometown and its people. Malala Yousafzai said, "Once again I wished for peace in our valley" (Yousafzai and Lamb 94). Regardless of all the terrible things that had happened, Malala Yousafzai still hopes for the best in her village.

Another important fact about Yousafzai is how she stayed devoted to her education even when she was being persecuted for it. Most people would quit or give up what they loved if they were being abused and harassed for it; however, Malala Yousafzai stayed strong and held her passion for school. She did whatever was in her power to continue her education, even after she received death threats. The biography states, "The Taliban could take our pens and books, but they couldn't stop our mind from thinking" (Yousafzai and Lamb 76). This quote displays the activist's passion for education. Regardless of the abuse, the attacks, and the terrible actions of the Taliban, Malala Yousafzai stayed strong and continued her education.

One more significant fact about the activist is that she still continued her movement after being shot at fifteen. A majority of people can never recover from a gunshot, let alone continue advocating a worldwide movement for women's education and rights. Malala Yousafzai, however, not only continued her movement after being shot - she continued her movement with a greater fire in her heart. The biography states, "He fired three shots, one after another. The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder" (Yousafzai and Lamb 10). After being shot at fifteen, Malala Yousafzai still was an activist.

This person was interesting because she had strong moral characteristics and a unique lifestyle. By reading her biography, I gained a better understanding of women's rights and how life is like in countries and regions affected by terrorism. It was also interesting to see Malala Yousafzai's perspective as she changed the world.


Malala Yousafzai was chosen as a topic for a biography because she has changed the lives of millions of women around the world. Women around the world have a chance to become educated because of the actions Yousafzai took. Malala Yousafzai showed people how important an education is. Because of the Malala Fund, an education fund created by Yousafzai, new schools are being created around the world to further the education of people. An important accomplishment of Malala Yousafzai is how she has brought the hidden issue of women's education to the eyes of important political leaders around the world. People now understand that children (specifically girls) are being denied their right to an education.

An important factor in this is that Malala Yousafzai showed people how to stand up to terrorists, corrupt governments, and evil people. It's not with violent wars, bloody battles, or gory scenes; rather, peaceful conventions, powerful books, and meaningful words will have a larger impact on people in the grand scheme of things.

In her biography, Yousafzai mentions, "Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right" (Yousafzai and Lamb 154). This quote displays Malala Yousafzai's greatest accomplishment; showing people that an education is a right for everyone around the world, regardless of gender, race, or income.

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This activist struggled with persecution by terrorists in Pakistan. Terrorists (such as Fazlullah) threatened girls who were obtaining an education at the time. Malala Yousafzai received death threats and verbal abuse from supporters of the Taliban. Being born a girl, she automatically faced the stereotypes of society that girls should stay at home and not receive an education. However, through her supportive father and a passion for education, she overcame these obstacles. Malala Yousafzai was even shot in the head by an extremist, but she still continued to fight for the education of millions. Furthermore, the Taliban constantly blew up schools around Pakistan and covered it up by saying that it was for religious purposes. Yousafzai experienced propaganda against women's education and rights. For example, Yousafzai's father received a note saying, "There is a school, the Khushal School, which is run by an NGO... and is a center of vulgarity and obscenity. It is a Hadith of the Holy Prophet that if you see something bad or evil you should stop it with your own hand. If you are unable to do that then you should tell other about it, and if you can't do that you should think about how bad it is in your heart" (Yousafzai and Lamb 115). This note clearly displays how the education of women was a subject of propaganda. Malala Yousafzai had to overcome struggles like these false accusations to obtain her education and spread her movement.


A mentor in Yousafzai's life was her father. Malala Yousafzai's father supported and encouraged her throughout all of her struggles. He had her back whenever she faced struggles. Since Malala Yousafzai was born, her father made sure that she was treated equally to boys. He supported his daughter's education and made sure she received the same luxuries as her brothers. Malala Yousafzai's father was an educational activist who set an example for his daughter; he went around the country and wrote journals, gave interviews, and spoke in front of thousands. Malala Yousafzai followed in his footsteps by advocating for the education of thousands of children across Pakistan. As she went around the country, her father mentored her and taught her how to speak eloquently. Her father supported all of her actions. When Malala Yousafzai began to receive death threats, her father stood by her side and made sure she was able to handle the struggles. Her father said, "'At night our fear is strong, Jani... but in the morning, in the light, we find our courage again'" (Yousafzai and Lamb 72). This quote displays how her father supported her throughout her life by giving Malala Yousafzai advice and strength.


Malala Yousafzai has received over forty awards. In 2013, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but did not win. In 2014, she won the Nobel Peace Prize for support for women's rights and the spread of education across the world. When she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, she set the record for the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner. Malala Yousafzai also holds the record for the most searched for woman on Google in 2013. Furthermore, Malala Yousafzai has won the Sakharov award in 2013 for supporting human rights. In December of 2011, Malala Yousafzai was awarded the National Youth Prize for her promotion of women's education. The award was later renamed the National Malala Peace Prize in her honor. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, Malala Yousafzai was listed under the TIMES 100 most influential people. Malala Yousafzai has won many more awards for her brave actions.
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Besides spreading the idea of education for all across the world, Malala Yousafzai has many interests. One of Yousafzai's hobbies is reading. Malala Yousafzai is a voracious reader who loves to read anything. When she left her home, the only thing she could think about was the books she left at home. Malala Yousafzai loves competing against her friends; every year, her best friend Moniba would compete against her in getting ranked first in their class. Malala Yousafzai also loves her education. She continued to pursue her education even after facing many threats. Also, she mentions her interest in public speaking. The activist loves to speak in front of crowds and practices for her speeches - giving speeches is something she loves to do.


A tangible object that stands as a symbol for Malala Yousafzai is a bouncy ball. Like a bouncy ball, Malala Yousafzai wants to reach as high as she can in her education and her cause. She wants to spread her goal of equality for women and education to the max potential; similarly, a bouncy ball bounces as high as it can after being bounced to reach its maximum height. Furthermore, a bouncy ball bounces back when hitting an obstacle like a wall. A bouncy ball does not stop and roll off when it hits a wall; rather, it comes back with more force. Similarly, Malala Yousafzai bounces back from obstacles with more power rather than being dejected and giving up. For instance, when the activist was shot, she came back with more force and a stronger message than before. She was more determined to change the world. Her biography mentions, "I want to learn and be trained well with the weapon of knowledge. Then I will be able to fight more effectively for my cause" (Yousafzai and Lamb 154). This quote displays Yousafzai's tenacity; after hitting an obstacle (being shot) she came back with more power and a will to be a better supporter of women's rights. She and a bouncy ball are both alike - they have the will to fight and reach their highest potential.

Friend or Foe

This activist would be a friend of mine. Malala Yousafzai is a literate person who has a good sense of humor and advocates a cause I support. To begin, Yousafzai speaks intelligently of controversial matters. She understands both sides of an argument and presents valid points that bring spice to a conversation. I love talking to people about present issues, and having Malala Yousafzai as a friend would be great; I could discuss current day issues with a person who has a unique perspective and understands the depth to certain concepts. Another reason Malala Yousafzai would be my friend is her sense of humor. Throughout her biography, she has a natural way to lighten up the mood. She brings a sense of airiness to serious topics and seems like a person who I would enjoy being around. No matter what the topic, Malala Yousafzai makes me smile. I would love to have a friend who makes me laugh all the time. One of the most important attributes of Malala Yousafzai is her advocacy of women's right. This cause reveals a lot about the activist. It shows that she is a determined person. She sticks to her goals and never quits. Malala Yousafzai is a strong woman who is confident in her decisions. She wants to make a difference in the world just to help other people. This reveals her kindness, her depth of thinking, and her intentions. Kindness and intentions are some of the most important factors of a friend; I know that Malala Yousafzai would always have my back.

Most Like

Malala Yousafzai is most like Nelson Mandela. Nelson Mandela was an advocate for equal rights in South Africa between blacks and whites. He would later go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela both fought for equal rights with a passion, regardless of what obstacles came their way. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head, and Nelson Mandela was thrown in prison. Both of these activists did not let their struggles deter them; rather, they both came back stronger with a greater desire for equality between two groups. Malala Yousafzai hoped for a day in which men and women would be treated equally; Mandela dreamed for equal rights between blacks and whites. Another similarity between Nelson Mandela and the Pakistani activist is that they were both recognized globally for the struggles they faced and made icons for peace and equality. Both Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela are known across the world for their daring statements and bold actions. Political leaders are influenced by the work of both these people. Malala Yousafzai and Mandela are recognized as symbols of peace across the globe. An important similarity between the activists is that they both won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1993, Nelson Mandela was awarded the prize for supporting peace between the different races in South Africa. Yousafzai was awarded the prize because she supported peace in Pakistan between men and women. Both these activists have received a prize that significantly represents their work in promoting equality. Overall, the character in history that best represents Malala Yousafzai is Nelson Mandela for their similar work in peace, their recognition as a peace icon, and their recognition with the Nobel Peace Prize.
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Altruist or Egoist

If there were only two categories to sort people into, Malala Yousafzai would fall in the category of an altruist. Altruistic people are concerned for the well-being of others; they are selfless people. This girl would be considered an altruist because she supports the rights and education of people besides herself. Furthermore, she cares about her family and their well-being more than her own. These are both unselfish ideologies that an altruist would have. Throughout the biography, Malala Yousafzai advocates the rights of others. She supports herself but puts the welfare and education of others above her life. Even after receiving death threats, Malala Yousafzai continued to endorse the rights of other people, a characteristic of an altruist. Furthermore, Yousafzai always thinks about her family. After she wakes up in the Birmingham Hospital, she immediately asks where her family is rather than asking about her own well being. As an altruist, she worries about the well-being of her brothers and parents even when she was lying on her death bed.


Origin of Name (Your Choice)

The name Malala Yousafzai has an interesting origin. The Pashtun children of Pakistan grow up hearing the story of Malalai. Malala Yousafzai described, "She inspired the Afghan army to defeat the British in 1880" (Yousafzai and Lamb 13). By Malalai's brave actions, the Afghan army destroyed the British.

It was the Second Anglo-Afghan War. Malalai was a classic hero; she was born a daughter to a Sheppard. She was supposed to marry an Afghan warrior. However, the Afghan army was losing so Malalai had to go onto the battlefield. Her job was minute; she would mend injuries and give water. As the war waged, however, more men fell. The battle seemed to wane; it looked like the Afghans would lose. The flag-bearer fell. It seemed like all was lost.

In a moment of chaos, Malalai marched forward and raised the flag. By words of bravery and strength, she inspired the army to keep fighting. Her physical actions did not change the world. She did not kill. She did not slaughter. She roared her courageous words across an army of thousands. It was her words that changed the outcome. The Afghan army came back, and the British suffered one of the worst defeats in their history.

The name foreshadowed Yousafzai's future. Malala Yousafzai led the world by her words, inspiring millions of people to take action and support women's education. She did not kill. She did not slaughter. Her words changed the world.

How Malala Yousafzai Changed the Perception of Woman (Your Choice)

Malala Yousafzai has made a greater impact on women than arguably any other teen this century. Because of her, the Pakistani government is allotting more time and focus on women's rights. Women around the world are being viewed in a different way. Young girls in developing countries and even developed countries have an example to follow as a role model. In a society that diminishes women all the time, the contributions that Malala Yousafzai have made set an example for young girls who are confused and hopeless. This young activist has paved a road for what women can do in society. Thanks to Malala Yousafzai, women are viewed in a higher manner. Girls in Pakistan now have a second chance. In the work force around the world, women are being viewed as equal to men. The movement Yousafzai began started in the smallest part of a developing country but has spread to the highest ranks of even the most elite societies. Women will forever be seen differently.