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Malala Yousafzai facts for kids

Malala Yousafzai facts for kids

Malala Yousafzai was announced as the ‘most famous teenager in the world’ by the United Nations as part of their 'Decade in Review' report released in December 2019. But who is Malala, where did she grow up, what did she do and why is she famous? 

Who is Malala?

Malala Yousafzai is a human rights activist. She fought for women to be allowed to receive an education in Pakistan. She describes herself as a Muslim and a feminist. 

She was born on July 12, 1997 in Mingora, Pakistan and has two younger brothers

Where did Malala grow up?

Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan. Mingora is in the Swat District of Pakistan. She went to an all girls school where she loved learning. 

Pakistan map

What did she do?

In 2007, when Malala was 10, the Taliban took over the Swat District of Pakistan. The Taliban decided women were not allowed to vote or have jobs. They demanded that girls schools were shut down. 

Malala began writing a blog for the BBC, called the Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl. She wrote the blog using a pseudonym. A pseudonym is a name someone uses when they want to keep their own identity secret. 

In her blog she spoke out about what it was like living under Taliban rule and not being allowed to go to school. Speaking out was a very dangerous thing to do and some people wanted to stop her. 

When the government took back control of the area Malala lived in in 2009, she was able to return to school. The Taliban continued to threaten Malala. 

On October 9, 2012, Malala was on the bus home when a Taliban gunman boarded the bus and shot Malala in an assassination attempt. He also shot two other girls that were on the bus with Malala. 

Malala woke up a week later in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England. She needed operations to help her recover, despite everything she had been through Malala was back at school 6 months later. 

Malala continued to speak out about the importance of women's rights and education for all.

On her sixteenth birthday (July 2013) Malala gave a speech to the United Nations. In the speech she said the proverb ‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ and spoke about wanting all girls to get an education. 

“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 ... I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the (Pakistani) Taliban or any other terrorist group. I'm here to speak up for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the (Pakistani) Taliban and all terrorists and extremists.” Malala Yousafzai

Malala has received a number of awards including jointly being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 with Kailash Satyarthi. She was the youngest person to receive the award. 

Five facts about Malala Yousafzai 

  1. After Malala made her speech at the United Nations, The United Nations named July 12th as "World Malala Day." July 12 is also her birthday. 
  2. Malala attended a school for girls that her father ran. 
  3. At school Malala learnt to speak 3 languages, Pashto, Urdu and English
  4. Malala wrote her blog using the name "Gul Makai", a heroine from a Pashtun folktale.
  5. David Trumble, a British film writer, film director and political cartoonist, created an illustration of Malala as a Disney Princess. 

World Malala Day

Catherine Lynch

Hi! I'm a former primary school teacher and resource creator at PlanBee. I'm a qualified Play Therapist and I am interested in mental health and wellbeing in schools and government education policy. I enjoy creating practical lessons, especially topic lessons that have a science or English focus.

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