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Malala Speaks At The UN: Refuses To Be Silenced After Taliban Attack

Rights of Passage

Malala Yousafzai is one impressive sixteen-year-old. First, she attends her school in Pakistan and campaigns for education, attracting the ire of the Taliban. Then, in October 2012 while she’s leaving school, extremists shoot her in the head to silence her– but she doesn’t die, and she doesn’t back down. Now, the teen is speaking to crowds at the UN on her birthday (“Malala Day”) and is stronger than ever before, bearing the pink shawl of assassinated Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto and standing tall before the leaders of the world.

Malala gave a speech before UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, UN delegates, and students from all over the world earlier today, urging leaders to fight for education for all children:

Let us pick up our books and pens, they are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. I am not against anyone. Nor am I here to speak against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I am here to speak up for the right to education of every child.

Even the attempt on her life has done nothing but fuel her convictions and make her fight harder. She stated:

[When she was shot] weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, courage and fervour was born… I speak not for myself but for those without a voice…

Malala has been living in Britain during her recovery, attending school in the UK until she is ready to return to Pakistan. In the mean time, she’s been hard at work. After her speech she presented Secretary-General Moon with a petition to support the education of 57 million children currently without school.

For someone so young she is a powerful orator who has had many experiences to age her, perhaps before her time. Her poise is truly incredible. Malala is an example of what a woman (or a girl) can do to be strong and fight for her own rights even when the odds are against her.

According to The Telegraph:

Pakistan has 5 million children out of school, a number only surpassed by Nigeria, where the figure is 10 million, the report said. Most of those are girls.

(via The Telegraph)

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