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June 1, 2016

In Honor of Malala Yousafzai

Over the weekend, Malala Yousafzai celebrated her 18th birthday. It’s not often that the world stops to celebrate anyone’s birthday, but this young woman is an exception and an inspiration.

When Malala was ten years old, the Taliban overtook the region of Pakistan where the Yousafzai family lived. They banned television and music, and said that women were not allowed to go to the market or receive an education. During this time, with the support of her parents, Malala began to blog about her experiences for the BBC. Despite the danger, her family helped her stand up for what she believes in.

At age 15, while on a school bus, Malala was shot by the Taliban. Though the bullet went through her head, neck, and shoulder, she survived her attack. After initial treatment locally, she was transported to Birmingham, England, for specialized treatment, rehabilitation, and therapy. Having made a miraculous recovery, she now fights for education for all on a global scale.

Not only was it her birthday on Sunday, but it was Malala Day, a holiday sanctioned by the United Nations Global Education First Initiative. Malala Day isn’t a holiday to give gifts or spend at a barbeque; it’s a day to celebrate the struggle and triumph of a young woman and to help forward her dream of universal education for all.

The theme for her birthday this year was “Books Not Bullets.” Social media was blanketed with photos of people with their favorite books in an effort to show world leaders that funding education for all is important and worth fighting for.

Last year, Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and she’s just getting started. To learn more about her, check out I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World.



About the Author: Steph Esteves is completing a summer internship in Merchandising department of Scholastic Reading Club. 

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