World Malala Day

Days We Celebrate                                                                                                                                       By Mrs. Navneeta Talukdar

Every year, 12th July is celebrated as the World Malala Day in honour of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani national, who raised her voice to draw global attention in favour of girls’ education. In 2014, at the age of 17, she became the youngest Nobel Prize laureatefor being the harbinger of education and equality all around the world.

The daughter of a prominent education activist and a humanitarian, Ziauddin Yousafzai, a Pashtun in the Swat region, Malala was particularly motivated by her father’s principles and contribution to promote girls’ education. Her advocacy of girls’ freedom to studyagainst the aggression to curb their rights to attend school found a vent in 2009 through her anonymous blogs in the beginning, and later, through interviews in print and on television. She had already become a well-known name in the movement for girls’ right to education.

With her growing determination to fight against the injustice and the expanding impact on the society, she was also attracting death threatsfrom the Pakistani Taliban who had banned girls from attending school. On 9th October 2012, while Yousafzai was returning from school in a bus, she was attacked by a gunman in an assassination attempt and was hit with a bullet in the head. Though her life moved into critical condition due to the attack, she gained huge international support after the incident.Malala, after multiple surgeries, was able to overcome the danger and resumed her work for the noble cause of empowerment of women all across the globe.

For her exceptional role in the field of girls’ education and empowerment, Malala got recognition on the world-stage and won many awards and titles. In 2012, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and the following year saw her as the recipient of the Sakharov Prize established by the European Parliament. Her name also featured in the list of 100 Most Influential People in the Worldpublished by the Times Magazine. In the year 2017, she was awarded honorary Canadian citizenship. The audio version of her book, I Am Malala, won the Grammy Award for Best Children’s Album.Along with Kailash Satyarthi of India, she was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. These are only a few of the many awards and titles won by the ambassador of human rights in the form of Malala.

Today, the name Malala Yousafzai has become synonymous with the campaign promoting girls’ education and development all across the globe. Her struggle to make education accessible to each and every girl in this world has ignited many hopes and saved many a girl from giving up on their dreams and ambitions. It is the realisation that without giving our girls the opportunity to rise, we cannot aim for a society that is developed and enlightened.

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March 2024
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