If the Taliban thought that shooting 15-year-old education campaigner Malala Yousafzai would scare girls away from going to school, they should be thinking twice. The brutal attack on Malala, who was shot three times in the head by a gunman while traveling back from school through the Swat Valley, has only galvanized support for the rights of women and girls in regions where the Taliban is established. Last Saturday was nothing less than a “global day of action” launched by the United Nations for the teenager.
In particular, Pakistan is planning to create “Malala Schools” for poor children in sixteen areas, says the Express Tribune. As Nafisa Shah, chairwoman of the National Commission for Human Development explains, the schools will be located in areas affected by conflict or natural disasters. The goal is for the schools to provide some education for both girls and boys in areas where such opportunities are severely limited. Each school will have two classrooms with a veranda, a toilet and space to expand its buildings.
Each school will cost 800,000 Pakistan rupees (about $8,336). The Pakistani government has identified where the schools will be located and has started the process of locating funds.
Canada’s four largest political parties and people around the globe are also calling for Malala to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, says the Guardian. Were she to win it, she would be the youngest by some ten years. The Washington Post notes that William Lawrence Bragg was 25 when he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915 for “services in the analysis of crystal structure by means of X-rays.”
Malala was shot by a Taliban hitman for the “crime” of campaigning for girls to go to school. Back in 2009, she had written an anonymous blog about what it was like to live under the Taliban. Amazingly, she survived the shooting and is now in the UK, where she is recovering. In a video statement released on Monday, Malala’s father, educator Ziauddin Yousafzai, thanked all “peace-loving well-wishers” for their support:
Malala is recovering well and wants me to tell you she has been inspired and humbled by the thousands of cards, messages and gifts that she has received. She wants me to tell everyone how grateful she is — and is amazed that men, women and children from across the world are interested in her well-being.
Here is Malala’s father’s message:
As the New York Times Lede blog notes, a soundless video released about two weeks ago by Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham appeared to show Malala speaking to her parents and two brothers. She is also reportedly starting to walk, talk and read, says the Washington Post.
Thanks to Malala, thousands more children, girls as well as boys, will receive the education they more than deserve.
Before the Taliban’s attack, Mala was already an inspirational figure for her advocacy for literacy and peace. Now untold numbers of people around the world know her name and her work, and have been reminded of how ineffective and cowardly the Taliban’s violence truly is.
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