Saturday, November 9, 2013

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

I recently finished reading this book. I had heard about Malala, but I wanted to read more about her. I'm glad I did. This is truly an inspiring story, one I think everyone should read.

This is not the spot in my blog where I usually post book reviews. But, Malala's story was so compelling, I wanted to share the review in the "Blog" section of my website. When this post gets buried under newer posts, you will still be able to read the full review by clicking on the "Book Reviews" icon at the top of this page. 

This book is about Malala Yousafzai, as the title says, she is “the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban.” The story was written by Malala with the help of Christina Lamb. This is Malala’s biography, a brief one to be sure, but one that is unprecedented in terms of all that she has seen and experienced in her young life.

You’ve probably heard of Malala. She’s a Muslim girl who was born in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. Being born into a Muslim family generally means that a female life is not highly valued. But, Malala’s father does not think like other Muslims. Her father is a teacher, and he has always instilled in her a belief that everyone is entitled to an education, including girls.

When the Taliban took control of her valley, Malala was furious. The Taliban insisted that any school that taught girls should be shut down. Since her father ran the school she attended, she continued going to school and became very vocal, speaking out against the Taliban, even when her life was threatened.

On October 9, 2012, Malala was shot in the head, at point-blank range, by a member of the Taliban. She was fifteen years old at the time. Three bullets were fired at her, but only one hit her. The other two struck two of her friends. They were not seriously wounded, but Malala nearly lost her life. The would caused her blindness in her left eye, and the left side of her face is not quite fully functional. But, she is alive and she is still speaking out against the Taliban and anyone who says girls should not be educated.

Since the accident, she has left Pakistan and has traveled around the world, sharing her story, making a stop at the United Nations in New York. In part, she said:

"So here I stand... one girl among many. I speak – not for myself, but for all girls and boys. I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights: Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated."

She was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, the youngest person ever to have that honor. She did not receive the prize, but she has gone on to inspire others. She started the Malala Fund, a non-profit agency. Its mission is to provide education to every girl around the world. “Education empowers girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change. The Malala Fund’s solutions are grounded in inspired innovation: they are girl-centric approaches to education that support the Fund’s goal of creating a world where every girl reaches her true potential.”

Malala believes, “One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education First.”

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