The Child Advocacy Hall of Fame is proud to announce Malala Yousafzai as our 2017 Inductee. Malala was born in the summer of 1997 growing up in the beautiful Mingora area of Pakistan where she became an outspoken passionate voice, advocating for children's access to education as a child herself. Despite several stern warnings from the local Taliban terrorist organization to cease and dessist her child educational advocacy efforts, Malala continued on, ignoring their warnings to stop. In the fall of 2012, Malala Yousafzai was targeted by a Taliban hitman on her way home from school riding in a bus.
Malala was educated in a school her father founded in Pakistan's lush Swat Valley, once famous for its festive outdoor events before the Taliban moved in and tried to take control of the region. The Taliban did not agree with Malala's advocacy for access to education for girls and tensions grew between the Yousafzai family and local Taliban Warlords. In the fall of 2008, when at age 11, Malala gave a heartfelt speech titled "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education" the Taliban had decided Malala had gone too far and needed to be eliminated.
Before Malala's 12 birthday, she began corresponding through the Internet with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) regarding her plight with access to education for girls and children in a region suffering with ideological hostilities and domestic unrest with the Taliban. As Malala's outspoken activism grew to an ever wider global audience, her anonymity as an Internet blogger was lost. Malala received a nomination for an International Children's Peace Prize when she was 14 years old and received the Pakistan National Youth Peace Prize that same year, a remarkable achievement for such a young person.
In 2011, Malala and the Yousafzai family got word of a "death order" put out by the local Taliban shot-callers targeting Malala for her outspoken defiant advocacy for children's education despite multiple demands for her to stop. The courageous young Malala did not worry about her own physical safety, only the safety of her family, especially her anti-Taliban activist father.
In early fall of 2012, on her way home from school, a Taliban terrorist stormed the bus and demanded at gun-point to know who Malala was. As others turned towards Malala, the Taliban gunman took slow careful aim and opened fire, hitting Malala in the head. Malala received a near mortal wound that day simply because of her Child Advocacy work, placing her in a coma for weeks teetering at brink between life and death
The Taliban's assassination attempt left Malala in a medically induced coma in the intensive care unit then flown to two separate hospitals for multiple surgeries ending up in England for most of her recovery. Once Malala was in the United Kingdom, she was taken out of a medically induced coma. Though she would require multiple surgeries—including repair of a facial nerve to fix the paralyzed left side of her face, she had suffered no major brain damage making a nearly full recovery.
In March 2013, Malala was able to begin attending school once again. Malala survived to become a global symbol of courage "in the face of death" and as an international advocate of education for all children. Malala has opened several schools, won numerous awards, addressed the United Nations and is changing the lives of children throughout the middle east and beyond. Malala's accomplishments in Child Advocacy is unprecedented and awe inspiring.
The failed assassination of Malala by the Taliban resulted in a worldwide outpouring of support that snowballed during her recovery. Malala Yousafzai took to the podium and gave a famous speech at the United Nations on her 16th birthday in 2013. Yousafzai has also written an autobiography, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, released in October 2013.
To this day, the Taliban still considers Malala Yousafzai a target. Malala was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 but did not win. The very next year, in 2014, Malala was nominated again and won, becoming the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is just getting started as she is in her early twenties, continuing her advocacy for education access to all children the world over.
Thank you Malaya for your sacrifices and unwavering courage in the face of death for what you believe in and advocating for children's access to education. We are honored to have you as our 2017 Child Advocacy Hall of Fame Inductee.