Life On The Job

Malala Yousafzai - 12 July 1997 -

Malala Yousafzai
(Source: The Look Up To Project)

“I think of it often and imagine the scene clearly. Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.”

"Malala Yousafzai (born 12 July 1997) is a Pakistani school pupil and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Map of Swat

She is known for her activism for rights to education and for women, especially in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. In early 2009, at the age of 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.

On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus.

Malala in hospital
(Source: Pukhtunkhwa Times)

In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father.

The assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai. Deutsche Welle wrote in January 2013 that Yousafzai may have become "the most famous teenager in the world." United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a UN petition in Yousafzai's name, using the slogan "I am Malala" and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015 – a petition which helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan's first Right to Education Bill.

Time Magazine

In the 29 April 2013 issue of Time magazine, Yousafzai was featured on the magazine's front cover and as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in the World". She was the winner of Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and was nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize (although Yousafzai was widely tipped to win the prize, it was awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons).

One Child

On 12 July 2013, Yousafzai spoke at the UN to call for worldwide access to education, and in September 2013 she officially opened the Library of Birmingham. Yousafzai is the recipient of the Sakharov Prize for 2013. On 16 October 2013 the Government of Canada announced its intention that the Parliament of Canada confer Honorary Canadian citizenship upon Yousafzai."

 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. At age 17, Yousafzai is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize 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 and the only Pakistani winner of the Nobel Peace Prize; Abdus Salam was a 1979 Physics laureate.  (Source: Wikipedia)


bullet.gif (981 bytes)Look Up To Project

Look Up to Project
bullet.gif (981 bytes)New York Times

bullet.gif (981 bytes)USA Today - Pakistan girl wins Sakharov prize, nominee for Nobel

bullet.gif (981 bytes)UN International Day of the Girl

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Plan

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Carbonated TV - What will it mean for Women of Pakistan if Malala wins Nobel Peace Prize?

Carbonated TV
bullet.gif (981 bytes)The Guardian

The Guardian
bullet.gif (981 bytes)CNN

bullet.gif (981 bytes)ABC News: 10 October 2014

Nobel Peace Prize
bullet.gif (981 bytes) ABC News: 11 October 2014

Nobel Peace Prize
bullet.gif (981 bytes)BBC News: 12 December 2014

BBC 12 December 2014
bullet.gif (981 bytes)FastCompany: Malala strikes back: Behind the scenes of her fearless, fast-growning organisation: November 18 2015.



Did You Know?

Around the world, girls face barriers to education that boys do not.
But when you educate a girl you can break cycles of poverty in just one generation.

These statistics offer insights on the current status of girls’ education, and also illustrate the lasting impact education has on
girls, families, communities and nations around the world.

1. Globally, 66 million girls out of school. (UNESCO)

2. There are 33 million fewer girls than boys in primary school (Education First)

3. 14 million girls under 18 will be married this year; 38 thousand today; 13 girls in the
last 30 seconds. (UNFPA)

4. The #1 cause of death for girls 15-19 is childbirth. (World Health Organization)

5. Girls with 8 years of education are 4 times less likely to be married as children.
(National Academies Press)

6. A child born to a literate mother is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.

7. Educated mothers are more than twice as likely to send their children to school.

8. School is not free in over 50 countries. (UNESCO)

9. A girl on planet earth has a 1 in 4 chance of being born into poverty. (The World Bank)

10. A girl with an extra year of education can earn 20% more as an adult.
(The World Bank)

10. Women operate a majority of small farms and business in the developing world.
(Focus on Five)

11. If India enrolled 1% more girls in secondary school, their GDP would rise by $5.5
billion. (CIA World Factbook) (Global Campaign for Education and RESULTS
Education Fund)

12. There are 600 million girls in the developing world. (The World Bank)
(Source: Girl Rising)


bullet.gif (981 bytes)Injustices righted?

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Literacy Australian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Intercultural UnderstandingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Intercultural Understanding

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking
Personal and social capability
Australian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability

1. Go to the Australian Human Rights Commission - Children's Rights website

Australian Human Rights

 2. Choose an area that you are interested in helping out - whether it be youth homelessness; refugee children and their plight; girls and education; education; or...

3. Read about the area you have selected.

4. Follow Megan Mitchell, Australia’s first dedicated National Children’s Commissioner, who focuses solely on the protection of the rights of children., on Facebook

Megan Mitchell

4. Comment or voice your opinion on Megan's Facebook page or contact her directly using


bullet.gif (981 bytes)Why is Education so important?

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

Intercultural UnderstandingAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Intercultural Understanding

Literacy Australian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy


1. Read the Malala's story: I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. [this book is on the NSW Year 12 Reading List]

I am Malala
Published in 2013

2. Read the following article from The Telegraph

The Telegraph
(Source: October 2013, The Telegraph)

"Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban over her fight for universal education, urged people in war-torn countries to swap guns for pens and focus on schooling their children.

The 16-year-old activist, who was targeted by the Islamic extremists while travelling on a school bus in her native Pakistan last October, received a standing ovation after speaking at the launch of her memoir, I Am Malala, at London’s Southbank Centre.

She said: “You are not powerful if you have a gun, because with a gun you can only kill.

You are powerful when you have a book, when you have pen because through a pen you can save lives and that's the change we want to bring in our society.”

The teenager claimed the “terrorists” who had taken over Pakistan’s Swat Valley region stopped her and her female friends going to school because they feared the power of learning.

When they came to Swat, and when they banned girls education, then I realised that these terrorists are afraid of the power of education,” she said.

They are not letting women to be empowered, that's why they are stopping us from going to school.

She described the "barbaric situation" as going back to the Stone Age.

She said: “We were told that the only job for women is to cook, is to serve her husband, is to serve her father, her brothers, is to clean the house, is to do work for children, is to feed them.

"It's her job, it's why she has been created, that's the mindset of these terrorists.

“But I think the terrorists haven't read the Koran

Malala, who hopes to one day study at Oxford or Cambridge Universities, said she understood it was human nature to fight.

But she added: "Competition must be on the basis of how many educated children do you have. What's the rate of literacy?

"We need to change the ideology, we need to tell people what the real power is.

Speaking about countries such as Afghanistan and Syria, she said: "Instead of sending guns, send pens. Instead of sending tanks, send books.

"Instead of sending soldiers to these suffering countries, send teachers."

Malala's appearance as part of the Literature Autumn Season 2013 came just a day after she received a standing ovation from a 1,000-strong audience after being presented with an honorary degree at Edinburgh University.

After last year's attack Malala was treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and she now lives in the city with her family and is studying for her GCSEs.

Recently voted one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Malala began blogging for the BBC in 2009 about her life in Pakistan and her desire to attend school safely and freely.

Her increasing profile in the global media and her campaigns for universal education and women's rights brought her to the attention of the Taliban.

Following the attack she needed emergency treatment and surgeons who treated her said she came within inches of death when the bullet grazed her brain in the shooting.

Since then she has also addressed the United Nations and was nominated for the Nobel peace prize. "
(Source: October 2013, The Telegraph)

3. Hold a Socratic Discussion using the resources listed below.

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Why is Education so important? Does it change outcomes for students? Is there a better outcome for girls obtaining education? A Global Perspective!

Resources for Socratic Discussion:

bullet.gif (981 bytes)Teaching Students How to Discuss

Discussion Circles
bullet.gif (981 bytes)Socratic Seminar Guidelines: A Practical Guide

Socratic Seminar

Material sourced from 

The Telegraph (UK)
The Look Up To Project


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