Welcome to The Brave Spotlight! This is the first post in a new series we’re launching on the blog, in which we highlight courageous women who are making a direct impact on the lives of women, both across the globe and right here at home.
We are kicking off this series with a young woman you’re likely all familiar with, given her recent NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WIN! The lovely Malala Yousafzai. We’d love to share a bit of her journey here with you, as we’ve been captivated by her courage, audacity, and sheer resilience. Side note: if you haven’t read her book… you truly must read it.
“I am proud to be a girl, and I know that girls can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai
No one better demonstrates the Ghandi quote “Be the change you wish to see in the world” than 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai. In 2008 the Taliban began to limit girl’s access to education in Pakistan. Malala grew up in a household bent on education – her father ran a local school, and Malala recounts more than a few stories of her adoration for learning. Appalled and inspired to continue going to school, she confronted the issue head on by sharing a speech in Peshawar Pakistan that posed the question, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” We like this girl. A LOT.
After sharing her speech, she began blogging for BBC in early 2009. Under the use of a pseudonym, she wrote in detail about her life under the Taliban occupation. Her blog posts shared intricate observations about her day-to-day life and the thoughts, questions, terrors and concerns she had. Her writing illustrates the reality of the terror surrounding her and really puts her bravery in to perspective.
Malala quickly became a target. In October 2012, just two years before receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala was attacked on a bus on her way home from school. A gunman boarded the school bus, aimed for Malala, pulled the trigger and released a bullet that hit her just above the left eyebrow.
The condition was serious, and she was flown to Birmingham, England to receive further treatment. After a medically-induced coma, numerous procedures and a long road to recovery, Malala has continued her journey in advocating for women’s education. And, of course, she returned to school in March.
Malala has won numerous awards and is recognized internationally as a strong and positive role-model. She was faithful in the small things – loving her family, loving the opportunity to learn, and acting in kindness – and as a result has become a major catalyst for improving women’s opportunity for education.
Stay brave, Malala, we are so excited to see what’s next for you on the path of women’s education.
You can read more about Malala’s story at the Malala Fund.