The famous teenager

Irrespective of the differing perspective, there is no denying that Malala Yousafzai has lived a rather extraordinary life. Just as the teenage years of the 21st Century are nearly over, the United Nations has now deservingly declared her as the most famous teenager of the decade.
From a very young age, Malala was known for speaking out in favour of girls’ education. The Taliban had taken control of the Swat Valley and imposed a ban on the education of girls until they were flushed out in military operation. Malala continued to speak out against Taliban atrocities through her blog, but she gained prominence when she was featured in an international documentary about her life in the region.
The Taliban eventually lost ground as the army entered the region but still sought revenge from the teenage girl. In October 2012, Malala was shot by a Taliban gunman while taking the bus home from school. She was hit in the head with a bullet but miraculously survived and recovered. She was flown to the UK in a critical condition where she has been ever since making one short visit back home in 2018.
The attack made news around the world and was widely condemned. Now the day is observed as Malala Day to push for every girl’s right to schooling and to make girl’s education an urgent priority. As Malala once famously said that ‘just one child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.’ Now thousands of girls have received an education in developing countries under the Malala Fund.
Though not a teenager anymore, Malala’s activism and profile have grown ever since. She now rubs shoulders with world leaders, peace activists, icons, celebrities, and other high-profile personalities. She has made appearances on TV talk shows and has won several awards including the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. She became a UN messenger of peace in 2017 with a focus on girls’ education.  
Malala’s achievements have made Pakistan more well-known, not as a place where girls are unsafe and are shot for demanding an education, but where they are resilient and fight for their rights. It’s time we give her the respect she truly deserves and make efforts to make the nation a safe place for her to return. More important is the message that now resonates across the nation: every girl deserves an education.
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