It’s a long way to Tipperary, as the song goes, but for Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani schoolgirl who has become a global symbol of a girl’s right to education, the journey will conclude with a peace prize when she arrives there next week.
Yousafzai has given her support to charity group Plan’s Raise Your Hand campaign to make girls’ education a global priority and she will accept the Tipperary Peace Prize on 20 August at the Ballykisteen Hotel, Co Tipperary.
In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. She was sent in a critical condition to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and her life was saved.
The 16-year-old first came to global prominence in early 2009, when she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC about life as a student in a country where the local Taliban had banned education for girls.
The following year, The New York Times filmed a documentary about her life and she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu.
On the day of her 16th birthday, Yousafzai led the first ever youth takeover of the United Nations in New York on 12 July and the day forever more will be known as Malala Day.
Her work has brought greater attention to the stark reality facing young women in parts of the world in the 21st century:
- More than 60m girls across the world are out of school.
- An extra year of secondary school increases a girl’s potential income by 15 to 25pc.
So far, more than 860,000 people around the world have raised their hands. The goal is to reach 1m raised hands by September, when Plan will present them to the United Nations General Assembly, calling for action.
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s year-long campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths