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Malala Yousafzai

Born: 12 July 1997

Nationality: Pakistan

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani human rights activist and the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for advocacy of education and regarding women’s rights in her native Swat Valley in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of northwest Pakistan, where the local Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Yousafzai's activism has garnered support from all over the world and has grown into an international movement.

Yousafzai attended a school that her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, founded. After the Taliban began attacking girls' schools in Swat, she gave a speech in Peshawar, in September 2008 titled "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" In early 2009, Yousafzai began blogging for the BBC about living under the control of Taliban insurgents in the Swat Valley. In order to hide her identity, she used the name Gul Makai. Her speeches and activism for encouraging girls to attend schools gained attention from the extremist Taliban group that operated in her area.

When she was 14, Malala and her family learned that the Taliban had issued a death threat against her. Though Malala was frightened, she and her family initially felt that the fundamentalist group would not actually harm a child. On 9 October 2012, on her way home from school, a man boarded a bus Malala was on and fired at her, hitting her in the left side of her head. The shooting left Malala in critical condition, and to receive further care she was transferred to Birmingham, England.

The shooting resulted in massive support for Yousafzai, which continued during her recovery. She gave a speech at the United Nations in 2013, and wrote an autobiography, titled I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. On 12 July 2015, which coincided with her 18th birthday, she opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon. Its expenses covered by the Malala Fund, the school was designed to admit nearly 200 girls from the ages of 14 to 18.

Malala Yousafzai is one of the world’s Great Utopians for her struggle and dedication in advocating education for girls all over the world.

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