Malala Yousafzai was born on 12 July 1997 in Mingora, a town in the Swat District of north-west Pakistan. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai ran a school next to the family home, and opposed the efforts of the Taliban to stop girls from going to school.
At the age of nine, Malala began writing a blog using a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu service about her fears that her school would be attacked. The Taliban had banned television and music, and women were not allowed to go shopping. Ziauddin was told that his school had to close. Both Malala and her father received death threats for promoting the right to education.
Then Malala was interviewed in a documentary for the New York Times, and her identity as the author of the BBC blog was revealed.
In 2011, at the age of 14, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. In response to her rising popularity and national recognition, Taliban leaders voted to kill her.
On 9 October 2012, as Malala and her friends were travelling home from school, a masked gunman entered their school bus and asked for Malala by name. She was shot with a single bullet which went through her head, neck and shoulder. Two of her friends were also injured in the attack.
Malala survived the initial attack, but was in a critical condition. She was moved to Birmingham in the United Kingdom for treatment at a hospital that specialises in military injuries. She was not discharged until January, 2013 by which time she had been joined by her family in the UK.
In 2013, Malala and Ziauddin co-founded the Malala Fund to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential and to demand change.
On 10 December, 2014, Malala accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian children’s rights and education advocate Kailash Satyarthi. Malala contributed her entire prize money of more than $500,000 to financing the creation of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.
Here, you can watch Malala give her acceptance speech on that historic day.