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Education activist Malala joint winner of Nobel Peace Prize

posted 10 Oct 2014, 06:40 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 10 Oct 2014, 06:41 ]

Shot by the Taliban two years ago, Malala Yousafzai who has become an international symbol of resistance to the Taliban's efforts to deny women education and other rights, has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize jointly with Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

KARACHI, PAKISTAN  (KHYBER TV) -  Last year, 16-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was the youngest person to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This year, she was the joint winner for her work as an education activist. She has become an internationally-recognised symbol of resistance to the Taliban's efforts to deny women education and other rights.

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Malala's hometown of Mingora in Pakistan's Swat Valley was infiltrated by militants from Afghanistan more than six years ago and for a time the community was living under the influence of the Pakistani Taliban. The Taliban set up courts, executed residents and closed girls' schools, including the one that Malala attended.

She rose to fame when she wrote a blog under a pen name about living underTaliban rule. She spoke out against the militants, demanding education for girls, at a time when the government appeared to be appeasing the hardline Islamists.

On October 9, 2012 Taliban gunmen fired on Malala's school bus, shooting her in the head and neck at close range and wounding two of her classmates.

She was treated in Pakistan before the United Arab Emirates provided an air ambulance to fly her to Britain, where doctors mended parts of her skull with a titanium plate.

Unable to return safely to Pakistan, Malala enrolled in a school in Birmingham, England.

She not only survived the attack, but recovered to the extent that she celebrated her 16th birthday in July 2013 with a passionate speech at the United Nations in New York in which she appealed for compulsory free schooling for all children.

Wearing a pink head-scarf, Malala told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and nearly 1,000 students attending an international Youth Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York that education was the only way to improve lives.

"Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first," she said.

Malala has gone on to make several public appearances and has received a number of honours.

In September 2013 she was awarded the 'Clinton Global Citizens Awards' at a ceremony in New York.

During her acceptance speech she touched on issues ranging from child labour and poverty to inequality and injustice among women from Afghanistan to Syria.

"Women are not even accepted as human beings, they are treated with injustice and inequality. Women are denied, they are neglected even in the developed countries, where they are not given the opportunities to move forward and be what they want. Even in America, even in America, people are waiting for a woman president," she said.

Pakistan has five million children out of school, a number only surpassed by Nigeria, which has more than 10 million children out of school, according to the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO.

The Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday (October 10).