Shot For the Crime of Wanting to Learn
Malala Yousafzai was 15 years old when a masked Taliban gunman stepped aboard the bus she was taking home from school and attempted to assassinate her.
“I left my home for school and never returned,” she later wrote in her book, I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban.
Since she was 11, Malala had been an activist, writing and speaking about girls’ education. It had marked her as a radical. Obscene. An enemy. It had marked her for death.
The soldier’s bullet damaged part of her skull and ear. It lodged in her shoulder near the spinal cord. But it didn’t kill her.
And the world lifted her up in support.
I Am Malala
Politicians and advocates around the globe rallied around Malala’s cause—the cause of girls’ education. In 2012, the UN Special Envoy for Global Education put forth a petition in her name, and in the name of the 62 million girls of the world denied access to education.
The petition declared that “girls like Malala everywhere will soon be going to school.” Their rallying cry was, “I am Malala.”
Malala recovered from her grievous wounds. Speaking for the first time after the attack, she told over 500 education advocates at the UN, “The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear, and hopelessness died. Strength, power, and courage was born.”
Malala continued to speak out against the denial of education to children because of their gender, their religion, their race, or their circumstances.
A Life Changing Event Led to Changing Others' Lives
The year after her attack, she 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.” (from malala.org)
By inspiring courage & strength in others and by seeking peace through education, Malala was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the youngest Nobel laureate in history.
Her 2013 words at the Youth Takeover at the United Nations stand as clarion call for education as a foundation for peace. “Let us pick up our books and our pens,” she spoke from the podium. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
That’s why we’ve chosen the Malala Fund as the educational organization we are supporting this spring.
Though she has already done much in her young life, Malala’s work continues. The Malala Fund pursues both global advocacy and local coordination to help girls receive 12 years of education.
By partnering with organizations located in four regions where girls’ access to education is most at risk, the Malala Fund works with local leaders and groups that best understand the culture, the political landscape, and the needs of their communities.
They work with Syrian refugees displaced by warfare.
They work in Nigeria, where girls seeking education were kidnapped and forced to become child brides.
They work in Kenya to ensure that girls are not left behind as this hub of the African technology sector experiences an economic boom.
And of course, they work in Malala’s own country of Pakistan, where poor girls in rural regions face innumerable barriers that keep them out of school.
These are girls who possess tremendous courage. Who seek a better life for themselves and their families, despite danger. Who dream and act, even in the face of tremendous barriers.
Just like Malala.
In her book, Malala Yousafzai looked back on her near-death experience and drew upon it as a source of strength. “I told myself, Malala, you have already faced death. This is your second life. Don’t be afraid — if you are afraid, you can’t move forward.”
But as she moves forward, she is making a path for millions of girls to follow along with her.
A portion of every Handcrafted HoneyBee purchase made from April through June will be donated to the Malala Fund. If you would like to support this organization directly, you can donate at https://www.malala.org/donate.