|Occupation:||Civil Rights Leader|
|Height:||161 cm (5' 4'')|
|Birth Day:||July 12, 1997|
|Birth Place:||Mingora, Pakistan|
Became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient in history for her advocacy for female education in Pakistan. She used her Nobel Peace Prize money to help rebuild 65 schools in Gaza.
|#3||Ziauddin Yousafzai||Father||$1 Million - $2 Million (Approx.)||N/A||51||Celebrity Family Member|
|#4||Rohul Amin Yousafzai||Grandfather||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|#5||Toor Pekai Yousafzai||Mother||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|161 cm (5' 4'')||54 kg||Black||Dark Brown||N/A||N/A|
Living in Pakistan's Swat valley, a hotbed of Taliban activity, she began writing a blog about her experiences and her thoughts about being forbidden from going to school.
Yousafzai was born on 12 July 1997 in the Swat District of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, into a lower-middle-class family. She is the daughter of Ziauddin Yousafzai and Tor Pekai Yousafzai. Her family is Sunni Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity, belonging to the Yusufzai tribe. The family did not have enough money for a hospital birth and as a result, Yousafzai was born at home with the help of neighbours. She was given her first name Malala (meaning "grief-stricken") after Malalai of Maiwand, a famous Pashtun poet and warrior woman from southern Afghanistan. At her house in Mingora, she lived with her two younger brothers, Khushal and Atal, her parents, Ziauddin and Tor Pekai, and two chicken.
In late 2008, Aamer Ahmed Khan of the BBC Urdu website and his colleagues came up with a novel way of covering the Pakistani Taliban's growing influence in Swat. They decided to ask a schoolgirl to blog anonymously about her life there. Their correspondent in Peshawar, Abdul Hai Kakar, had been in touch with a local school teacher, Ziauddin Yousafzai, but could not find any students willing to do so, as it was considered too dangerous by their families. Finally, Yousafzai suggested his own daughter, 11-year-old Malala. At the time, Taliban militants led by Maulana Fazlullah were taking over the Swat Valley, banning television, music, girls' education, and women from going shopping. Bodies of beheaded policemen were being displayed in town squares. At first, a girl named Aisha from her father's school agreed to write a diary, but then the girl's parents stopped her from doing it because they feared Pakistani Taliban reprisals. The only alternative was Yousafzai, four years younger than the original volunteer, and in seventh grade at the time. Editors at the BBC unanimously agreed and later stated that: "We had been covering the violence and politics in Swat in detail but we didn't know much about how ordinary people lived under the Taliban", said Mirza Waheed, the former editor of BBC Urdu. Because they were concerned about Yousafzai's safety, BBC editors insisted that she use a pseudonym. Her blog was published under the byline "Gul Makai" ("cornflower" in Urdu), a name taken from a character in a Pashtun folktale.
Inspired by the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the two-time elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Yousafzai started speaking about education rights as early as September 2008, when her father took her to Peshawar to speak at the local press club. "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" Yousafzai asked her audience in a speech covered by newspapers and television channels throughout the region. In 2009, Yousafzai began as a trainee and then a peer educator in the Institute for War and Peace Reporting's Open Minds Pakistan youth programme, which worked in schools in the region to help young people engage in constructive discussion on social issues through the tools of journalism, public debate and dialogue.
On 3 January 2009, Yousafzai's first entry was posted to the BBC Urdu blog. She would hand-write notes and then pass them on to a reporter who would scan and e-mail them. The blog records Yousafzai's thoughts during the First Battle of Swat, as military operations take place, fewer girls show up to school, and finally, her school shuts down. That same day, on her BBC blog entry, she wrote:
Following the edict, the Pakistani Taliban destroyed several more local schools. On 24 January 2009, Yousafzai wrote: "Our annual exams are due after the vacations but this will only be possible if the Pakistani Taliban allow girls to go to school. We were told to prepare certain chapters for the exam but I do not feel like studying."
In February 2009, girls' schools were still closed. In solidarity, private schools for boys had decided not to open until 9 February, and notices appeared saying so. On 7 February, Yousafzai and her brother returned to their hometown of Mingora, where the streets were deserted, and there was an "eerie silence". "We went to the supermarket to buy a gift for our mother but it was closed, whereas earlier it used to remain open till late. Many other shops were also closed", she wrote in her blog. Their home had been robbed and their television was stolen.
On 9 March, Yousafzai wrote about a science paper that she performed well on, and added that the Taliban were no longer searching vehicles as they once did. Her blog ended on 12 March 2009.
By early July, refugee camps were filled to capacity. The prime minister made a long-awaited announcement saying that it was safe to return to the Swat Valley. The Pakistani military had pushed the Pakistani Taliban out of the cities and into the countryside. Yousafzai's family reunited, and on 24 July 2009 they headed home. They made one stop first – to meet with a group of other grassroots activists that had been invited to see United States President Barack Obama's special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke. Yousafzai pleaded with Holbrooke to intervene in the situation, saying, "Respected ambassador, if you can help us in our education, so please help us." When her family finally did return home, they found it had not been damaged, and her school had sustained only light damage.
Following the documentary, Yousafzai was interviewed on the national Pashto-language station AVT Khyber, the Urdu-language Daily Aaj, and Canada's Toronto Star. She made a second appearance on Capital Talk on 19 August 2009. Her BBC blogging identity was being revealed in articles by December 2009. She also began appearing on television to publicly advocate for female education. From 2009 to 2010 she was the chair of the District Child Assembly of the Khpal Kor Foundation through 2009 and 2010.
In 2011 Yousafzai trained with local girls' empowerment organisation, Aware Girls, run by Gulalai Ismail whose training includes advice on women's rights and empowerment to peacefully oppose radicalisation through education.
In October 2011, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a South African activist, nominated Yousafzai for the International Children's Peace Prize of the Dutch international children's advocacy group KidsRights Foundation. She was the first Pakistani girl to be nominated for the award. The announcement said, "Malala dared to stand up for herself and other girls and used national and international media to let the world know girls should also have the right to go to school." The award was won by Michaela Mycroft of South Africa.
Her public profile rose even further when she was awarded Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize two months later in December. On 19 December 2011, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani awarded her the National Peace Award for Youth. At the proceedings in her honour, Yousafzai stated that she was not a member of any political party, but hoped to found a national party of her own to promote education. The prime minister directed the authorities to set up an IT campus in the Swat Degree College for Women at Yousafzai's request, and a secondary school was renamed in her honour. By 2012, Yousafzai was planning to organise the Malala Education Foundation, which would help poor girls go to school. In 2012, Malala attended the International Marxist Tendency National Marxist Summer School.
On 9 October 2012, a Taliban gunman shot Yousafzai as she rode home on a bus after taking an exam in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Yousafzai was 15 years old at the time. According to reports, a masked gunman shouted: "Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all." Upon being identified, Yousafzai was shot with one bullet, which travelled 18 inches (46 cm) from the side of her left eye, through her neck and landed in her shoulder. Two other girls were also wounded in the shooting: Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan, both of whom were stable enough following the shooting, to speak to reporters and provide details of the attack.
On 11 October 2012, a panel of Pakistani and British doctors decided to move Yousafzai to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi. Mumtaz Khan, a doctor, said that she had a 70% chance of survival. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that Yousafzai would be moved to Germany, where she could receive the best medical treatment, as soon as she was stable enough to travel. A team of doctors would travel with her, and the government would bear the cost of her treatment. Doctors reduced Yousafzai's sedation on 13 October, and she moved all four limbs.
On 12 October 2012, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā – a ruling of Islamic law – against the Taliban gunmen who tried to kill Yousafzai. Islamic scholars from the Sunni Ittehad Council publicly denounced attempts by the Pakistani Taliban to mount religious justifications for the shooting of Yousafzai and two of her classmates.
On 15 October 2012, UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, the former British Prime Minister, visited Yousafzai while she was in the hospital, and launched a petition in her name and "in support of what Malala fought for". Using the slogan "I am Malala", the petition's main demand was that there be no child left out of school by 2015, with the hope that "girls like Malala everywhere will soon be going to school". Brown said he would hand the petition to President Zardari in Islamabad in November.
The police also arrested six men for involvement in the attack, but they were later released due to lack of evidence. In November 2012, US sources confirmed that Mullah Fazlullah, the cleric who ordered the attack on Yousafzai, was hiding in Eastern Afghanistan. He was killed by a U.S.-Afghan air strike in June 2018.
In November 2012, the consulting firm Edelman began work for Yousafzai on a pro bono basis, which according to the firm "involves providing a press office function for Malala". The office employs five people, and is headed by speechwriter Jamie Lundie. McKinsey also continues to provide assistance to Yousafzai.
From March 2013 to July 2017, Yousafzai was a pupil at the all-girls Edgbaston High School in Birmingham. In August 2015, she received 6 A*s and 4 As at GCSE level. At A Level, she studied Geography, History, Mathematics and Religious Studies. Also applying to Durham University, the University of Warwick and the London School of Economics (LSE), Yousafzai was interviewed at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford in December 2016 and received a conditional offer of three As in her A Levels; in August 2017, she was accepted to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE). On 19 June 2020, it was announced that she had completed her finals exams at university.
On 3 January 2013, Yousafzai was discharged from the hospital to continue her rehabilitation at her family's temporary home in the West Midlands, where she had weekly physiotherapy. She underwent a five-hour long operation on 2 February to reconstruct her skull and restore her hearing with a cochlear implant, after which she was reported to be in stable condition. Yousafzai wrote in July 2014 that her facial nerve had recovered up to 96%.
Yousafzai spoke before the United Nations in July 2013, and had an audience with Queen Elizabeth II in Buckingham Palace. In September, she spoke at Harvard University, and in October, she met with US President Barack Obama and his family; during that meeting, she confronted him on his use of drone strikes in Pakistan. In December, she addressed the Oxford Union. In July 2014, Yousafzai spoke at the Girl Summit in London. In October 2014, she donated $50,000 to the UNRWA for reconstruction of schools on the Gaza Strip.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arranged for Yousafzai's appearance before the United Nations in July 2013. Brown also requested that McKinsey consultant Shiza Shahid, a friend of the Yousafzai family, chair Yousafzai's charity fund, which had gained the support of Angelina Jolie. Google's vice-president Megan Smith also sits on the fund's board.
On 12 July 2013, Yousafzai's 16th birthday, she spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education. The UN dubbed the event "Malala Day". Yousafzai wore one of Benazir Bhutto's shawls to the UN. It was her first public speech since the attack, leading the first ever Youth Takeover of the UN, with an audience of over 500 young education advocates from around the world.
On 8 October 2013 Malala, at the age of 16, visited The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, her first major late night appearance. She was there as a guest to promote her book, "I am Malala". On the program they discussed her assassination attempt, human rights, and women's education. She left Jon Stewart speechless when she described her thoughts after learning the Pakistani Taliban wanted her dead, saying:
Yousafzai's memoir I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb, was published in October 2013 by Little, Brown and Company in the US and by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK. Fatima Bhutto, reviewing the book for The Guardian called the book "fearless" and stated that "the haters and conspiracy theorists would do well to read this book", though she criticised "the stiff, know-it-all voice of a foreign correspondent" that is interwoven with Yousafzai's. Marie Arana for The Washington Post called the book "riveting" and wrote "It is difficult to imagine a chronicle of a war more moving, apart from perhaps the diary of Anne Frank." Tina Jordan in Entertainment Weekly gave the book a "B+", writing "Malala's bravely eager voice can seem a little thin here, in I Am Malala, likely thanks to her co-writer, but her powerful message remains undiluted."
On 12 September 2014, ISPR Director, Major General Asim Bajwa, told a media briefing in Islamabad that the 10 attackers belong to a militant group called "Shura". General Bajwa said that Israrur Rehman was the first militant group member who was identified and apprehended by the troops. Acting upon the information received during his interrogation, all other members of the militant group were arrested. It was an intelligence-based joint operation conducted by ISI, police, and military.
Even though she was fighting for women's rights as well as children's rights, Yousafzai did not describe herself as a feminist when asked on Forbes Under 30 Summit in 2014. In 2015, however, Yousafzai told Emma Watson she decided to call herself a feminist after hearing Watson's speech at the UN launching the HeForShe campaign.
In 2014, Yousafzai stated that she wished to return to Pakistan following her education in the U.K., and inspired by Benazir Bhutto, she would consider running for prime minister: "If I can help my country by joining the government or becoming the prime minister, I would definitely be up for this task." She repeated this aim in 2015 and 2016. However, Yousafzai noted in 2018 that her goal had changed, stating that "now that I have met so many presidents and prime ministers around the world, it just seems that things are not simple and there are other ways that I can bring the change that I want to see". In an interview with David Letterman, for Netflix's show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Yousafzai was asked: "Would you ever want to hold a political position?" and replied "Me? No."
On 10 October 2014, Yousafzai was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. Having received the prize at the age of 17, Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel laureate. Yousafzai shared the prize with Kailash Satyarthi, a children's rights activist from India. She is the second Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize after 1979 Physics laureate Abdus Salam.
A children's edition of the memoir was published in 2014 under the title I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World. According to Publishers Weekly, in 2017 the book had sold almost 2 million copies, and there were 750,000 copies of the children's edition in print.
In April 2015, the ten who were arrested were sentenced to life in prison by Judge Mohammad Amin Kundi, a counterterrorism judge, with the chance of eligibility for parole, and possible release, after 25 years. It is not known if the actual would-be murderers were among the ten sentenced. In June 2015, it was revealed that eight of the ten men tried in-camera for the attack had in fact been secretly acquitted, insiders revealed one of the men acquitted and freed was the murder bid's mastermind. It is believed that all other men who shot Yousafzai fled to Afghanistan afterwards and were never even captured. The information about the release of suspects came to light after the London Daily Mirror attempted to locate the men in prison. Senior police official Salim Khan stated that the eight men were released because there was not enough evidence to connect them to the attack.
On 12 July 2015, her 18th birthday, Yousafzai opened a school in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, near the Syrian border, for Syrian refugees. The school, funded by the not-for-profit Malala Fund, offers education and training to girls aged 14 to 18 years. Yousafzai called on world leaders to invest in "books, not bullets".
Yousafzai has repeatedly condemned the Rohingya persecution in Myanmar. In June 2015, the Malala Fund released a statement in which Yousafzai argues that the Rohingya people deserve "citizenship in the country where they were born and have lived for generations" along with "equal rights and opportunities." She urges world leaders, particularly in Myanmar, to "halt the inhuman persecution of Burma's Muslim minority Rohingya people." In September 2017, speaking in Oxford, Yousafzai said: "This should be a human rights issue. Governments should react to it. People are being displaced, they're facing violence." Yousafzai also posted a statement on Twitter calling for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to condemn the treatment of the Rohingya people in Myanmar. Suu Kyi has avoided taking sides in the conflict, or condemning violence against the Rohingya people, leading to widespread criticism.
In 2015, the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) banned I Am Malala in all Pakistani private schools, and the president Mirza Kashif Ali released a book I Am Not Malala. The book accuses Yousafzai of attacking Pakistan's army under the pretence of female education, describes her father as a "double agent" and a "traitor" and denounces the Malala Fund's promotion of secular education. However, Ali claimed that "we are not against her but the ideology being imposed on us" and pointed out that the APPSF went on a national strike when Yousafzai was attacked.
Yousafzai was the subject of the 2015 documentary He Named Me Malala, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. In 2017, a Hindi biopic film Gul Makai was announced, with Reem Sameer Shaikh portraying her.
Yousafzai authored a picture book, Malala's Magic Pencil, which was illustrated by Kerascoët and published on 17 October 2017. By March 2018, The Bookseller reported that the book had over 5,000 sales in the UK. In a review for The Guardian, Imogen Carter describes the book as "enchanting", opining that it "strikes just the right balance" between "heavy-handed" and "heartfelt", and is a "welcome addition to the frustratingly small range of children's books that feature BAME central characters". Rebecca Gurney of The Daily Californian gives the book a grade of 4.5 out of 5, calling it a "beautiful account of a terrifying but inspiring tale" and commenting "Though the story begins with fantasy, it ends starkly grounded in reality."
In March 2018, Yousafzai was the subject of an interview with David Letterman for his Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. Speaking about the Taliban, she opined that their misogyny comes from a superiority complex, and is reinforced by finding "excuses" in culture or literature, such as by misinterpreting teachings of Islam. On the topic of her attackers, Yousafzai comments that "I forgive them because that's the best revenge I can have". Pointing out that the person who attacked her was a young boy, she says that "He thought he was doing the right thing".
On 29 March 2018, Yousafzai returned to Pakistan for the first time since the shooting. Meeting Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, she gave a speech in which she said it had been her dream to return "without any fear". Yousafzai then visited her hometown Mingora in Swat Valley. The APPSF, a group representing the 173,000 private schools in Pakistan, organised "I am not Malala Day" on 30 March. Yousafzai responded by saying "I am proud of my religion, and I am proud of my country."
In March 2018, it was announced that Yousafzai's next book We Are Displaced: True Stories of Refugee Lives would be published on 4 September 2018 by Little, Brown and Company's Young Readers division. The book is about refugees, and includes stories from Yousafzai's own life along with those of people she has met. Speaking about the book, Yousafzai said that "What tends to get lost in the current refugee crisis is the humanity behind the statistics" and "people become refugees when they have no other option. This is never your first choice." Profits from the book will go to Yousafzai's charity Malala Fund. She visited Australia and criticized its asylum policies and compared immigration policies of the U.S. and Europe unfavourably to those of poor countries and Pakistan. The book was published on 8 January 2019.
On 7 August 2019, following the Indian revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, Yousafzai expressed her concern about the situation and appealed to the international community to ensure peace in Kashmir. On 14 September 2019, Malala posted a tweet, in which she said that a Kashmiri girl told her: "I feel purposeless and depressed because I can't go to school. I missed my exams on August 12 and I feel my future is insecure now." However, many Indian Twitter users pointed out that on 12 August 2019, it was Eid al-Adha in India, a public holiday when schools were closed across the country, so an exam would not be possible on that day. After her tweet, Yousafzai was harassed widely on Twitter by some Indian political leaders as well as some sections of the Indian public, and was accused of spreading the "Pakistani agenda" over Kashmir and being selective in the protest by the Indians.
Currently, Malala Yousafzai is 24 years, 0 months and 24 days old. Malala Yousafzai will celebrate 25th birthday on a Tuesday 12th of July 2022.
Find out about Malala Yousafzai birthday activities in timeline view here.