By RIDA ALI, age 10
For many American kids, going to school is a chore, not a privilege. However, Malala Yousafzai, a girl from Pakistan’s Swat Valley who had been fighting for equal education since she was 11, risked her life to attend school.
The Taliban, a group who enforces their own version of Islamic law, destroyed many of the schools in Malala’s village because they believe girls age 10 and older shouldn’t be allowed to attend school. They’ve attacked schools in Pakistan, killing teachers and seriously injuring students. These attacks frightened many children into dropping out of school.
On October 9, 2012, a man from the Taliban attacked Malala on her way home from school with her friends. The man boarded the bus, demanding to know which girl was Malala. Though no one spoke, several girls looked at Malala, and he shot her.
Miraculously, she survived the attack and eventually even spoke at the United Nations in 2013. “The power of education frightens [the Taliban],” she said in her speech. “They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them.”
She has written an autobiography, I am Malala, explaining what she has gone through since her shooting in 2012. Her book was banned in some schools in Pakistan. School administrators felt that Malala’s book did not show enough respect for the Muslim religion.
While on a visit to the United States, she met with President Obama and talked to him about U.S. drone attacks in her country. She explained that although drone attacks kill terrorists, each time there is an attack, “500 and 5,000 more people rise against it and more terrorism occurs, and more bomb blasts occur.”
Malala, now 16, currently lives in Birmingham, UK. She misses her village and says she someday wants to return.