We know her as the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who survived a targeted shooting by the Taliban in her hometown in Pakistan. The Creston Valley Public Library premiere of the award-winning film, He Named Me Malala, will give you the rest of the story.
He Name Me Malala tells the remarkable true story of teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was attacked by Taliban gunmen for advocating girls’ education. Rather than be silenced, Malala emerged as a global voice for the education rights of all children, and in 2014 she became the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize recipient.
Malala was born in 1997 in Mingora, a town in the Swat district of northwest Pakistan. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai named her after Malalai, a Pashtun heroine.
Ziauddin, who has always loved learning, ran a school in Swat adjacent to the family’s home. He was known as an advocate for education in Pakistan, which has the second highest number of unschooled children in the world, and became an outspoken opponent of Taliban efforts to restrict education and stop girls from going to school.
Malala shared her father’s passion for learning and loved going to school. In 2009, as the Taliban’s military hold on Swat intensified, Malala began writing a blog for the BBC Urdu service under a pseudonym, with fears that her school would be attacked under the increasing military activity in Swat. Television and music were banned, women were prevented from going shopping and then Ziauddin was told that his school had to close.
Malala and her father received death threats but continued to speak out for the right to education. Around this time, Malala was featured in a documentary made for the New York Times and was revealed as the author of the BBC blog.
In 2011, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. In response to her rising popularity and national recognition, Taliban leaders voted to kill her.
On Oct. 9, 2012, as Malala and her friends were travelling home from school, a masked gunman entered their school bus and asked for Malala by name. She was shot with a single bullet, which went through her head, neck and shoulder. Two of her friends were also injured in the attack.
Malala survived the initial attack, but was in a critical condition. She was moved to Birmingham in the United Kingdom for treatment at a hospital that specializes in military injuries.
The Taliban’s attempt to kill Malala received worldwide condemnation and led to protests across Pakistan. In the weeks after the attack, over two million people signed a right to education petition, and the National Assembly swiftly ratified Pakistan’s first right to free and compulsory education bill.
Malala became a global advocate for the millions of girls being denied a formal education because of social, economic, legal and political factors. In 2013, Malala and Ziauddin co-founded the Malala Fund to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential and to demand change.
Malala accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014 with Indian children’s rights and education advocate Kailash Satyarthi. Malala contributed her $1.1 million prize money to financing the creation of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.
See He Named Me Malala at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Creston Valley Public Library. The film is suitable for ages 12 plus and is free of charge. Seating is limited.
—CRESTON VALLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY