"When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful."
I Am Malala
Named after the famous Afghani poet and warrior, Malalai of Maiwand, Malala has become a symbol for women's rights and the enduraning spirit of truth amid suffering worldwide.
Malala was raised Muslim in the Pakistani city of Mingora, where her father ran schools for girls.
In this region it was common for women not to go to school at all.
Malala loved learning and going to school. She dreamt of one day becoming a teacher, a doctor, or a politician.
She learned three different languages including Pashto, English, and Urdu.
Her father always encouraged her to learn more and taught her that she could accomplish anything.
As the Taliban gained more control, they began to enforce new laws. Women would not be allowed to vote or have jobs. There would be no dancing, television, movies, or music. Eventually, the Taliban demanded that the girls schools be shut down. Girls schools that were not shut down were burned or destroyed.
"If you pick up a gun in the name of Islam and kill an innocent person, you are not Muslim anymore.
You do not share my faith." - Malala
Be peaceful and love everyone.
In 2009 Malala wrote about her life during the Taliban occupation of her home in Pakistan and the ban on girls’ education.
In 2012, aged 15, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who boarded her school bus.
She recovered in Birmingham, England, where she and her family chose to remain.
On July 12, 2013, at the first ever Youth Takeover of the UN, Malala said:
"I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad-the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This is the legacy of change that I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of non-violence that I have learnt from Gandhi Jee, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the forgiveness that I have learnt from my mother and father. This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone".
In 2013, Yousafzai was awarded the International Children’s Peace prize and co-founded the Malala fund to champion the right of every girl to 12 years of free, safe, quality education.
In 2014, she received the Nobel Peace Prize.
"I am a Muslim, and I believe that if you pick up a gun in the name of Islam and kill an innocent person, you are not Muslim anymore. You do not share my faith."
"The world leads leadership based on serving humanity, not based on how many weapons you have. Canada can take that lead.
"Dear sisters and brothers, we have a responsibility to improve the world".
"Let them say, we were the first to live in a world where all girls could learn and lead without fear".
"Today, only a quarter of refugee children can get secondary education."
"Last summer, on a trip to Kenya, I was introduced to the bravest girl I’ve ever met.
At age 13, Rahma’s family fled Somalia and came to Dadaab — the world’s largest refugee camp.
She had never been inside a classroom — but she worked hard to catch up and, in a few years, graduated primary school.
At 18, Rahma was in secondary school, when her parents decided to move back to Somalia. They promised she could continue her education. But when her family returned to Somalia, there were no schools for her to attend. Her father said her education was finished and that she would soon marry a man in his 50s — a man she did not know.
Rahma remembered a friend from the refugee camp, who had won a scholarship to a university in Canada. She borrowed a neighbour’s Internet connection and contacted him through Facebook. Over the internet, the university student in Canada sent her $70.
At night, Rahma snuck out of her house, bought a bus ticket and set out on an eight-day trip back to the refugee camp — the only place she knew she could go to school.
Through the Sustainable Development Goals, our nations promised every girl she would go to school for 12 years. We promised that donor countries and developing countries would work together to make this dream a reality for the poorest girls in the world.
I know that politicians cannot keep every promise they make — but this is one you must honour. World leaders can no longer expect girls like Rahma to fight this battle alone." - Malala Yousafzi
Written On International Women's Day
Malala's message is simple, love women, love girls and help them to make our world better.
Let women learn. Let women help. Let women act, and they will profoundly change this world for the better.
I am writing this on international women's day, the perfect day to help spread Malala's spirit and message.
Malala is an incredible human being, and an amazing woman. Just her being on this planet brings hope and encouragement to so many for a better world. A world that is not often seen outside of us, but which must always come from within.
Malala has shown us how to be gentle and humble whilst powerful and strong. The balance her soul has developed on the never ending journey toward perfect love is incredibly inspiring.
People speak often of a man's world, but I do not believe in such a thing.
Man cannot exist, and certainly cannot truly live, without woman.
This is meant to be a world we share and enjoy together.
Woman is often mistreated by men who do not see her true worth and infinite value.
Too often after man hurts woman, woman goes on to hurt man, and so these two eternal partners that are intended to grow with and nurture one another end up instead hurting each other. With this is the destruction of family, and with the destruction of family community, with the destruction of community, the world.
We have to change.
Men, have to change.
Help heal her heart,
and she will heal yours.
Appreciate that she is Woman,
Your eternal friend and partner,
Together this life is a playground,
and in the end you become one.