Malala Yousufzai is a 14-year old girl from Pakistan. Unlike many 14-year olds, however, Malala does not simply spend her days complaining about homework, whispering secrets to her best friend, or flirting with her crush. Instead, Malala has become a blogger activists, advocating for girls’ education in Pakistan. She lives in a conservative region of Northwestern Pakistan where the Taliban tightly restrict female education. Malala’s frustration with these restrictions caused her to begin speaking out via the internet. For her courage and activism, Malala was awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.
However, Malala’s story is not only one of accolades and courage. Sadly, in early October, Malala was shot by Taliban extremists. Pakistan’s President and Prime Minister both condemned the attack. Today, doctors say Malala is making progress, but the road to recovery is slow. She is currently in the UK receiving medical treatment after an initial surgery to remove a bullet lodged in her neck in Pakistan. Her story is inspiring people around the world to take action, with thousands signing a petition to nominate her for the Nobel Peace Prize and November 10th will mark “Malala Day.”
Malala’s story demonstrates the great power of activist bloggers. Malala’s blog about the horrors of life under the Taliban and her desire to promote girls’ education earned her international attention and scared Taliban militants enough for them to attempt to kill her. If she survives, they promise they will try again. Malala is a strong young woman, however, and vows to return to Pakistan eventually to continue advocating for education and life free of Taliban rule. Blogging and other social media have propelled her story from the rural Swat Valley of Pakistan to international attention and will hopefully help to further her goals, as well as recognize her courage.
You can learn about a few other youth activists using social media in this article.