On July12, 2013, the world celebrated Malala Day, which is a day dedicated to the campaign for the right to education for girls all over the world. This day was the 16th birthday of Malala Yousafzai, a young human rights campaigner and Pakistani school pupil.
Malala almost didn’t live to see this day, as she was shot at the age of 15 in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen. She remained in critical condition for many days and was treated intensively at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK. She was shot simply for her work campaigning for the right to attend school and receive an education.
Youth Takeover of the UN General Assembly
The birthday of Malala Yousafzai was celebrated with the very first ever youth takeover of the UN General Assembly in New York. It was at this event that Malala gave her very first televised speech since she was shot. Her speech was beautiful, inspirational and powerful and it prompted a standing ovation in the crowd.
She began by thanking everyone who has supported here and who helped her toward her recovery, including the doctors, nurses and staff at the hospitals in the UK and Pakistan and the government. She told the story of how she was shot by the Taliban and how this attack has not changed her aims or stopped her ambitions. She went on to say that she was not speaking in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any terrorist group. Instead, she explains that she is there to speak up for the right to education of every child. She states that, “we realise the importance of our voice when we are silenced”.
Her powerful and moving speech went on to explain that the power of education frightens the extremists. They are afraid of the power in the voice of women which is why they are suppressing and killing female students and teachers. Malala explains that they are afraid of the equality that these women will bring into the society. She points out the fact that Islam is a religion based on humanity, peace and brotherhood and that education for children is not only a right, it is a duty and a responsibility.
She goes on to outline some of the issues throughout the world, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Her speech delivered the passionate message to young people everywhere that they had rights and that she was speaking out so that those without a voice can be heard. She made a powerful plea to governments all over the world to work together in the name of peace and encourage free compulsory education for every child in the world.
She spoke about education for both boys and girls, but explained that she focuses on girls’ education because they have been “suffering the most”. She calls upon the world leaders to bring free and compulsory education around the world for every child.
To watch the powerful speech and find out how you can help in the campaign, visit Plan UK where you help by sponsoring a child today.