Every year on July 12th, the world celebrates the birthday of Malala Yousafzai. At age 17, Malala was the youngest recipient ever of the Nobel Peace Prize. The day also honors the rights of children and women.
Malala Yousafzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan, on July 12th, 1997. Malala’s father was an educator, and as a result, she developed a thirst for knowledge. In 2007 the Taliban took over the city in which she lived and banned girls from attending school. As young as she was, Malala demonstrated fierce bravery by standing up to the Taliban. 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.
On the morning of October 9th, 2012, gunmen from the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai in the head. She was just 15 years old at the time. After four days in a military hospital, doctors transferred her to an ICU in Birmingham, England. Multiple surgeries and weeks of rehabilitative therapy later, Malala began attending school in Birmingham.
On her 16th birthday, the young lady traveled to New York and spoke at the United Nations. In 2013, TIME Magazine declared Malala one of the world’s most influential people. A year later, Malala was named a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Along with this prestigious honor, Malala has received the United Nations Human Rights Prize and The Liberty Medal. In 2017, Malala began her studies at Oxford. She currently resides in Birmingham and continues to fight for women’s empowerment and education.
HOW TO OBSERVE #MalalaDay
There are several ways you can participate in this day.
- Learn about countries, such as South Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Liberia, where it is difficult for girls to get an education.
- Read Malala’s book; I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot.
- Donate to the Malala Fund.
- Listen to the Grammy-winning album; I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World.
- Watch the documentary; He Named Me Malala.
Spread the word for this day on social media with #MalalaDay.
MALALA DAY HISTORY
July 12th holds special significance for Malala Yousafzai. It’s not only her birthday, but it’s also this date in 2013 that she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. Since that day, the UN has dubbed July 12th, Malala Day. During her UN address, she stated, “Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy, and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights.”