Last year, in high school, my class and I watched Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the United Nations.
I remember being so moved by her vision of education for all girls and boys around the world.
She won the the Noble Peace Prize in 2014, the same honor that Martin Luther King Jr. received many years earlier.
I decided to read Malala’s book, which was an interesting story about her life before and after the terrible bus shooting by the Taliban.
She was born from an illiterate mother and received a high school education through a school established by her father.
She starts the book with an extensive background about her native land of Pakistan.
The vivid description of the Swat Valley is quite interesting because when I think of Pakistan, I think of deserts and few buildings in the rural areas.
However, Malala shows the reader how diverse the Swat Valley is; with expansive mountain ranges, a picturesque river that runs through the valley and a welcoming community.
I appreciated the chapters at the beginning about her parents, who are very important to her.
Ziauddin Yousafzai, her father, was the son of an Islamist preacher and always had a passion for education.
His determination to fulfill this passion for education was taken to the next level when he opened a new school.
When Malala was born, members of the community did not make it a big deal, as compared to the birth of a son.
Ziauddin wanted her to have the same opportunities that her brothers had in Pakistan, most importantly a quality education.
Malala attended her father’s school and she was only one in a dozen girls in attendance, compared to boys.
The Taliban, a radical terrorist group in Pakistan, did not support girls going to school and threatened Malala’s father may times to shut down his school.
I can only imagine how scared Malala must have felt going to school, since the Taliban were responsible for many school bombings in the surrounding area.
Maulana Fazlullah, an extremist connected to the Taliban, started a radio station called Radio Mullah, which projected fear and terror to the people of the Swat Valley.
However, Malala did not let the Taliban stop her from getting an education.
Malala recounted, to the best of her ability, the darkest day of life.
The day a member of the Taliban stepped on the bus and shot her multiple times in the face.
Understandably, Malala could not remember much of the day.
Many doctors did not think she would be able to survive.
She proved the Taliban wrong and recovered fully in a matter of months.
I truly admire Malala’s tenacity to recover from such a gruesome attack and still have the passion to push for education for children around the world.
Although she currently lives in Birmingham, England and cannot return to Pakistan, she still goes to school everyday and does not let a terrorist group stop her from reaching her dreams.
Malala Yousafzai has emphatically stated, “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.