International Malala Day is observed on July 12 to commemorate the birthday of young Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai.
Malala Yousafzai is an international symbol, who took the initiative to prioritize female education in her home country, Pakistan.
Malala Day History:
- The United Nations had designated July 12 in 2013 as Malala Day to honour women and children’s rights around the world.
- She delivered the speech at the United Nations (UN) headquarters on women’s rights and education, calling world leaders to reform their policies, and on July 12, which was also her birthday.
- The speech gained several rounds of standing ovations and this address led to the declaration of Malala Day by the UN.
- Malala Yousafzai is a young Pakistani human rights activist.
- At age 17, Malala was the youngest recipient ever of the Nobel Peace Prize.
- She was born in Mingora, Pakistan, on July 12th, 1997.
- As a young girl, Malala Yousafzai was not allowed to go to school as the Pakistani Taliban had banned girls from going to school.
- However, the young girl refused to stay home and publicly advocated for the right to education for girls from as early as September 2008.
- In 2009, Malala started a blog and wrote about life under Taliban rule. She also wrote about her desire to go to school. For three years, she and her father advocated for the right for girls to attend school.
- As Malala Yousafzai became more recognized, the dangers facing her increased and she received numerous death threats.
The attack on Malala:
- In October 2021, the teenager was attacked by Taliban gunmen after she publicly advocated for the education of girls.
- She was left critically injured.
- Nine months after being shot, on her 16th birthday, the fierce girl delivered a speech at UN headquarters on women’s right to education.
- She founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit organization in 2013 along with her father to ensure free, safe, quality school education for girls around the world.
- She co-authored her autobiography titled “I Am Malala”, which is an international bestseller.
- She even published a children’s picture book about her life experience in October 2017, which was titled-‘Malala’s Magic Pencil.’
- She also wrote another book about herself and the refugee girls she met in her campaigns. The book titled, ‘We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World’, was published in 2018.
She finished her degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford in June 2020.
Awards and Honours:
- Malala Yousafzai has received numerous national and international honours over the years. Some of which are as follows:
- Malala Yousafzai jointly won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize along with Kailash Satyarthi, a children’s rights activist from India. At 17 years, Yousafzai became the youngest Nobel laureate.
- She is the second Pakistani national to receive a Nobel Prize after Abdus Salam who won Nobel Prize in Physics in 1979.
- She won the Mother Teresa Award for Social Justice in November 2012.
- She also won the International Children’s Prize in 2013.
- She won the Simone de Beauvoir Prize, an international human rights prize for women’s freedom, in January 2013.
- The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in October 2013.
- She also won the Harvard Foundation’s Peter Gomes Humanitarian Award in September 2013.
- Yousafzai was honoured with the Anna Politkovskaya Award – Reach All Women in War in 2013.
- Note: The award has been constituted to remember and honor the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya (1958–2006), who was murdered in Moscow on 7 October 2006 to silence her reporting about the war in Chechnya.
- She also won the International Prize for Equality and Non-Discrimination in 2013.
- She was appointed as the UN Messenger of Peace by the United Nations in April 2017. She became the youngest-ever to hold the post.
- She was also awarded honorary Canadian citizenship in April and became the youngest person to address the House of Commons in Canada.
- The UN has declared her as “the most famous teenager in the world” in its Decade in Review report in late 2019.