THE NOBEL PRIZE:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 is to be awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Children must go to school and not be financially exploited. In the poor countries of the world, 60% of the present population is under 25 years of age. It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.
Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi’s tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain. He has also contributed to the development of important international conventions on children’s rights.
Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.
The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism. Many other individuals and institutions in the international community have also contributed. It has been calculated that there are 168 million child labourers around the world today. In 2000 the figure was 78 million higher. The world has come closer to the goal of eliminating child labour.
The struggle against suppression and for the rights of children and adolescents contributes to the realization of the “fraternity between nations” that Alfred Nobel mentions in his will as one of the criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Malala was born on 12 July 1997, in Mingora, the Swat District of north west Pakistan. She was named Malala, after Malalai, the famous Pashtun Heroine.
Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai is a poet, and runs a public school. He is a leading educational advocate himself. In 2009, Malala began writing an anonymous blog for the BBC expressing her views on education and life under the threat of the Taliban taking over her valley.
During this period, the Taliban’s military hold on the area intensified. As the Taliban took control of the area they issued edicts banning television, banning music, and banning women from going shopping and limiting women’s education.
A climate of fear prevailed and Malala and her father began to receive death threats for their outspoken views. As a consequence, Malala and her father began to fear for their safety. After the BBC blog ended, Malala was featured in a documentary made for The New York Times. She also received greater international coverage and was revealed as the author of the BBC blog.
In 2011, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and she was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Her increased profile and strident criticism of the Taliban caused Taliban leaders to meet, and in 2012, they voted to kill her.
On 9 October, 2012, a masked gunman entered her school bus and asked for Malala by name.
Malala was shot with a single bullet which went through her head, neck and shoulder. Two of her friends were also injured in the attack. Malala survived the initial shooting, but was in a critical condition.
She was later moved to Birmingham in the United Kingdom for further treatment at a specialist hospital for treating military injuries. She was discharged on January 3, 2013 and moved with her family to a temporary home in the West Midlands. It was a miracle she was alive. Ehsanullah Ehsan, chief spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that Yousafzai was a symbol of the infidels and obscenity. However, other Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwa against the Taliban leaders and said there was no religious justification for shooting a schoolgirl.
Her assassination attempt received worldwide condemnation and protests across Pakistan. Over 2 million people signed the Right to Education campaign. The petition helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first right to education bill. Her shooting, and her refusal to stand down from what she believed was right, brought to light the plight of millions of children around the world who are denied an education today.
Malala became a global advocate for the millions of girls being denied a formal education because of social, economic, legal and political factors. She started 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.
On 10th October, 2014 she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Indian child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.
Malala Day, observed this year on 14 July 2014, is not just a day to celebrate Malala Yousafzai. It is a day for all children everywhere to raise their voices and be heard. It is a day to stand up for education and say to world that we are stronger than the enemies of education and stronger than the forces that threaten girls, boys and women from leading happy and productive lives. Learn more about Malala Day through her official website: www.malala.org
Last year, July 12, 2013 was Malala’s 16th birthday. To celebrate Malala Day, the global community came together to highlight the leading role that youth can play in enabling all children to get an education. Malala marked the day by giving her first public speech since the shooting dedicated to the importance of universal education at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
In support of the UN Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, international youth leaders convened at the United Nations and in cities around the world in support of reaching the goal of having all children, especially girls, in school and learning by 2015. See more HERE
I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.
Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.
All I want is an education, and I am afraid of no one.
In many parts of the world, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism, war and conflict stop children to go to their schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering.
You can know more about her and the Malala Fund HERE.
Read about other inspirational people and some of their stories and anecdotes:
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