Entries in Malala Yousafzai (12)


Sunday Spotlight: Malala Yousafzai 

STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This week marked the 16th birthday celebration of Malala Yousafzai, an education activist who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban last October. Yousafzai delivered a speech at the United Nations on Friday, which was commemorated as “Malala Day.”

“We call upon the world leaders that all the peace deals must protect women and children’s rights. A deal that goes against the rights of women is unacceptable,” Yousafzai declared to a chamber of hundreds of young people hailing from more than 100 countries, who convened for the first U.N. Youth Assembly.

U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education and Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown reminded the audience that Yousafzai’s enemies had hoped the young advocate wouldn’t reach this milestone.

“Let me repeat the words, the words the Taliban never wanted her to hear: Happy 16th birthday, Malala!,” he said.

Deeming her “a symbol of Western culture” for promoting female education, the Taliban shot Yousafzai in the head on her way to school in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. After the shooting, a representative of the Taliban said, “Let this be a lesson.”

Yousafzai was unfazed.

“They thought that the bullet would silence us. But they failed,” she said. “Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

Friday marked her first public speech since the incident.

Malala Yousafzai’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who ran one of the last schools to violate the Taliban’s ban on women’s education, told ABC News’ Bob Woodruff in an interview for This Week that his daughter has been reevaluating her original ambition to become a doctor.

“She came to the conclusion that if she becomes a doctor she may have patients in hospital, but she wanted to be the doctor of society, the doctor for the country, and a politician can do that,” he said. “They make a difference.”

On “Malala Day”, the eponymous activist shifted the focus away from herself and toward the cause of education access.

“Malala Day is not my day,” she said.

“I speak not for myself, but so those without voice can be heard,” she added.

About 57 million children around the world are not attending school, the majority of whom are girls, according to a report by the U.N. agency UNESCO and Save the Children.

Yousafzai called for people to pick up their “most powerful weapons”: books and pens.

“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world,” she said.

Yousafzai will be offering a book of her own. She’s writing a memoir, I Am Malala, scheduled to hit bookshelves this fall.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Malala Yousafzai Grateful for 'Second Life,' Creates Fund for Girls' Education

Queen Elizabeth Hospital(BIRMINGHAM, England) -- Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old schoolgirl from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban in October because she believed girls should have the right to go to school, released her first video statement following the attempt on her life.

Doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, say Yousafzai is doing well after two major surgeries this weekend.  During the operations, surgeons covered part of her shattered skull with a titanium plate and implanted a hearing device for her damaged inner ear.

"Today you can see that I'm alive," Malala said in a statement, which was taped days before her surgeries.  "I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone and today I can speak and I'm getting better day by day.  It's just because of the prayers of people, and because of these prayers, God has given me this new life, and this is a second life.  This is the new life and I want to serve the people."

Yousafzai was critically injured last October in Pakistan when a gunman shot her in the head.  She was transported to Queen Elizabeth Hospital shortly after she was shot.  Against all odds, she began to talk, read and walk, with no signs of major brain damage.

The five-hour surgeries this weekend were her final major medical procedures.  The hospital says she is stable and that her medical team is "very pleased" with her progress.  

Yousafzai is awake and talking to staff and members of her family, according to the hospital.  She will remain there for the next three to five days.  Doctors expect that she will need anywhere from nine to 18 months to fully recover.

As Yousafzai gains strength, so too does her cause.

"I think Malala is an inspiration for children all over the world," Yousafzai's father, Ziauddin, told ABC News' Bob Woodruff during an exclusive interview in London.  "When she fell, Pakistan stood and the whole world stood and the world supported her."

Even before the assassination attempt, Yousafzai was known as an impassioned advocate for education, despite reported death threats.  She was just 12 when the Taliban shut down her school.

In her statement released on Monday, Yousafzai announced the creation of a new charitable fund to support the cause she has championed.

"I want every girl, every child to be educated," she said in her video statement.  "And for that reason, we have organized the Malala Fund."

Click here for information on the Malala Fund and how to donate.

Vital Voices -- a global non-governmental organization advancing girls' and women's leadership through training and mentoring -- established the fund on behalf of Yousafzai and her family.  The group worked together with supporters of the cause, including The United Nations Foundation, Girl Up and several other organizations and individuals, and the fund is intended to provide grants to organizations and individuals focused on education.

Yousafzai and her father are on the board of the Malala Fund and she will help guide and direct projects the fund supports.

"We stand with Malala and girls around the globe who are boldly speaking out as advocates for education and equality," said Alyse Nelson, Vital Voices President and CEO.  "When girls move forward, they take their communities forward too."

"Our objective, our aim, and our dream is to educate children," Ziauddin said of the new effort.  "And especially girls, because when you educate a girl, you educate the whole family.  You educate a generation.  You educate all other coming children."

"It is not a privilege that we are educating them.  It is their basic right," he added.

Some militant clerics in Pakistan have reportedly issued a fatwa against Yousafzai, saying they would kill her if she recovers from her injuries.  Despite this, her story has garnered international support, and just last week, Yousafzai was officially nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Malala Yousufzai Discharged from British Hospital

Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, England) -- Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was targeted and shot by the Taliban last October for supporting education for girls, has been discharged from the British hospital where she has been receiving treatment.

In a statement Friday, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham said Yousufzai was released on Thursday "to continue her rehabilitation at her family’s temporary home in the West Midlands."

The family could be staying in England permanently after Yousufzai's father accepted a job as an education attaché at the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham.

Explaining the decision to send her home, Dr. Dave Rosser said, "Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers.  She will return to the hospital as an outpatient and our therapies team will continue to work with her at home to supervise her onward care.”

The hospital says Yousufzai is scheduled to check-in again in late January or early February to undergo cranial reconstructive surgery.  Before then, she will return "regularly" for clinical appointments.

The hospital on Friday also released a video of Yousufzai's discharge, showing her walking down a corridor and waving goodbye:

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Sister of Malala Yousufzai's Alleged Gunman Apologizes

Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- The sister of the man accused of trying to kill a 15-year-old Pakistani school girl is speaking out.

Rehana Haleem, who lives in Pakistan's Swat Valley, told CNN her brother has brought shame to their family.  She said police raided her home and arrested everyone, demanding to know where her brother was hiding.

"We have lost everything after what he did," she said.

That brother, 23-year-old Attah Ullah Khan, is the prime suspect in the attack on 15-year old Malala Yousufzai, the young girl who fought for girls' education in Pakistan.

Haleem told CNN she believes her brother is guilty, and that he disappeared just after the attack happened.  She also said she's sorry for the pain her brother inflicted on the young girl.

"What he did was intolerable," Haleem told CNN.  "Malala is just like my sister.  I'd like to express my concern for Malala on behalf of my whole family; I hope she recovers soon and returns to a happy and normal life as soon as possible.  I hope Malala doesn't consider me or my family as enemies.  I don't consider Atta Ullah my brother anymore."

Yousufzai and two classmates were shot nearly a month ago while on their way home from school after receiving threats from the Taliban for years.  Yousafzai was a strong advocate for girls' education -- something the Taliban disapprove of.

While Yousafzai recovers in a British hospital, the Pakistani government has announced her two classmates will receive stars of courage,  one of the highest awards anyone can receive in Pakistan.  One of those classmates is already back at school, and says despite being attacked, she's determined to continue her education.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Malala Yousufzai Has Tearful Family Reunion in British Hospital

University Hospital Birmingham(BIRMINGHAM, England) -- Malala Yousufzai had a tearful reunion with her family Friday in a British hospital where she is recuperating from her attempted assassination by the Taliban.

"My daughter is my companion," her father Ziauddin Yousufzai said Friday in Birmingham, England. "I love her. ...There were tears in our eyes when we first saw her. It was tears of happiness."

Ziauddin Yousufzai got choked up as he acknowledged that the family had drawn up funeral plans for Malala Yousufzai, an outspoken advocate for girls education shot point blank by a gunman in northern Pakistan's Swat Valley as she rode a school bus home Oct. 9. Two other girls were injured in the shooting.

Ziauddin Yousufzai, who traveled from Pakistan to England with Malala Yousufzai's mother and two brothers to visit the teen for the first time since the shooting, called his daughter's survival a "miracle."

Malala Yousufza, 15, is reportedly speaking and making remarkable progress at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she was taken after the shooting.

Although she will need her skull reconstructed, a process that will take months, Malala Yousufzai has no signs of brain damage and is expected to make a full recovery, doctors have said.

One of the bullets that hit her grazed her skull, chipping the bone but not penetrating her brain.

Friday Ziauddin Yousufzai thanked the world for "supporting the cause for which she stands: peace and education." He called her shooter "an agent of Satan -- but I found angels on my side."

"When she fell, Pakistan stood. And this is a turning point," he said. "She will rise again, she will stand again. She can stand now."

Ziauddin Yousufzai runs the school that his daughter attended and has vowed to return to Pakistan with her, even though the Taliban has said it would continue to target her.

Malala Yousufzai first spoke out for girls' education in 2009, when she was 11 years old.

The Taliban had taken over most of the Swat Valley, blowing up schools and preventing girls from getting an education. Thousands of girls' schools were destroyed and girls who attempted to study feared getting kidnapped or attacked with acid.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Malala Yousufzai Is Speaking, Shows No Sign of Brain Damage

ABC News(BIRMINGHAM, England) -- The 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl who was nearly killed by the Taliban for being an outspoken advocate for girls' education is talking and shows no sign of brain damage, according to Pakistani officials who have been briefed by her doctors.

Malala Yousufzai is showing remarkable improvement, despite her being shot point blank by a Taliban gunman in northern Pakistan's Swat Valley two weeks ago.

"She is making dramatic progress, and we are very pleased at how she's doing," Pakistan's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, told ABC News.

Yousufzai's parents flew to Birmingham Thursday and visited their daughter at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which treats British casualties of war and specializes in trauma medicine and the kind of treatment Yousufzai needs.

Hospital officials declined to comment on Yousufzai's condition, but doctors have said she is making steady progress and is likely to make a good recovery.

Before Yousufzai's parents left Pakistan, her father, Ziauddin, vowed that he would return to his country with his daughter -- despite Taliban promises to keep targeting the girl who has become a global icon of courage.

"We will be back in Pakistan as soon as Malala recovers, because Swat is my home, and I cannot think of leaving there," he said in a statement released by Pakistani state television.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he called his daughter's recovery "miraculous."

"I have seen doomsday and survived, you might say," said Ziauddin, who ran the girls' school that Malala attended despite Taliban threats. "Malala has been honored by the nation, by the world, by people of all classes of all creeds of all colors. I am grateful for that. But I am a father. I respect all those feelings, but the only priority now is the life of my daughter and her total rehabilitation. I don't need any awards. ... I need my daughter."

Despite Yousufzai's progress, she has a long way to go. Doctors have said she will be in the hospital for months and need skull reconstruction. One of the bullets that hit her grazed her skull, chipping the bone but not penetrating her brain. That likely saved her life and prevented the kind of brain damage that her family feared.

Yousufzai first spoke out for girls' education in 2009, when she was 11 years old. The Taliban had taken over most of the Swat Valley, blowing up schools and preventing girls from getting an education. Thousands of girls' schools were destroyed and girls who attempted to study feared getting kidnapped or attacked with acid.

Most politicians refused to criticize the Taliban, but Malala Yousufzai had the courage to speak out. She launched an anonymous blog and began to give interviews in English about the importance of continuing her schooling.

Today, her health is apparently good enough that she can think about continuing her studies.

Standing next to Ziauddin Yousufzai in Islamabad, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik noted that Malala had asked her father to bring textbooks with him.

"The mission she has taken forward and the education awareness that has spread across Pakistan is all Malala's doing," he said, according to Pakistani television. "So I think that our entire nation should be proud of her love for the soil of her country."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pakistani Girl Shot by Taliban Communicating, Standing Up

ABC News(BIRMINGHAM, England) -- The 15-year-old Pakistani girl, who was targeted and nearly killed by the Taliban last week for supporting education for girls, has stood up for the first time since the shooting.

Dr. Dave Rosser of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, where Malala Yousufzai is being treated, said on Friday that "she's doing very well.  In fact she was standing with some help for the first time this morning."

The girl was transported to the hospital in an air ambulance donated by the United Arab Emirates on Monday.

Rosser said that while Yousufzai is not able to talk because of a Tracheotomy, she is still communicating.

"She's communicating very freely.  She's writing.  She has a tracheotomy tube in because her airway was swollen by the passing of the bullet.  So in order to protect her airway she had a tracheotomy tube and so she's not able to talk," he said.

But that doesn't mean Yousufzai won't speak soon.

"We have no reason to believe she wouldn't be able to talk once this tube is out," he said.

While Yousufzai has made considerable progress, she still has a way to go in her recovery.

"It's clear that she's not out of the woods yet," Rosser said.

Yousufzai was shot in the head last Tuesday while on her way home from school in Mingora, triggering an unprecedented wave of condemnation of the Taliban.  The assailant reportedly approached her school bus and asked those on board to identify the young girl.  He then shot her and two classmates before fleeing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Angelina Jolie Pens Column on Pakistani Girl Shot by Taliban

Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Actress and human rights activist Angelina Jolie was touched by the story of 14-year-old Pakistani education activist Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head and neck by the Taliban.  The actress has penned a column for The Daily Beast in which she details discussing the situation for her kids.

"Malala’s story stayed with them throughout the day, and that night they were full of questions," writes Jolie, who at 37 is a mother of six.  "We learned about Malala together, watching her interviews and reading her diaries. ... Our 8-year-old suggested that the world build a statue for Malala, and fittingly create a reading nook near it.  Our 6-year-old asked the practical question of whether Malala had any pets, and if so, who would take care of them?  She also asked about Malala’s parents and if they were crying."

"Malala is proof that it only takes the voice of one brave person to inspire countless men, women, and children," Jolie writes in her final paragraph.

Yousufzai was targeted by the Taliban for supporting education for girls.  She was shot a week ago while on her way home from school in Mingora, a village in the Swat Valley.  The unknown assailant reportedly approached her school bus and asked those on board to identify the young girl.  He then shot her and two classmates before fleeing.

Since the shooting, Yousufzai has been kept under medical sedation in a U.K. hospital.  Doctors are optimistic that she'll recover from her wounds.

Yousufzai's story inspired Jolie, along with Daily Beat editor Tina Brown, to lend their support to the Women in the World Foundation's campaign to raise money for girls fighting for education in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Jolie's own Education Partnership for Children of Conflict is set to donate the first $50,000 to the fundraiser.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Malala Yousufzai Shooting: $1M Bounty Placed on Taliban Spokesman

Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- While a 14-year-old Pakistani girl is responding to treatment for her gunshot wounds at a British hospital, a leading politician at home upped the ante to find those responsible for the attempted assassination of Malala Yousufzai.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting the young activist, who the group regards as an infidel for advocating educational opportunities for girls.  If Yousifzai recovers, the Taliban has vowed to kill her.

Hoping to stop that from happening, Interior Minister Rehman Malik is going after Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan, who boasted of the murder attempt, by offering a $1 million bounty for his capture or death.

Meanwhile, Malik says the hunt continues for the men responsible for shooting Yousufzai in the head and neck.

According to his sources, the interior minister claims the actual plot to shoot the girl was hatched in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, officials at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, said on Tuesday that Yousufzai appears to be responding well to her specialized care and are optimistic of a recovery because her young brain may bounce back from a traumatic injury faster than an adult.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pakistani Girl Nearly Killed by Taliban 'Stable' After First Night in UK

Veronique de Viguerie/Getty Images(BIRMINGHAM, England) -- The 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was targeted and nearly killed by the Taliban for supporting education for girls has made some progress after her first night in a British hospital.

Malala Yousufzai was transported in an air ambulance donated by the United Arab Emirates to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, on Monday.

In a statement Tuesday, the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust said, "Malala spent a comfortable night in the Queen Elizabeth hospital and her condition this morning is described as ‘stable.’"

Yousufzai was shot in the head and neck last Tuesday while on her way home from school in Mingora, triggering an unprecedented wave of condemnation of the Taliban.  The assailant reportedly approached her school bus and asked those on board to identify the young girl.  He then shot her and two classmates before fleeing.

Since the shooting, the young girl has been kept under medical sedation and required a ventilator to breathe.  Doctors reportedly removed her briefly from the ventilator late Sunday night, after the girl showed a positive response to treatment.  Sometime afterwards, her medical team made the decision to fly her abroad.

Yousufzai's medical expenses are being handled by the Pakistani government.  A spokesman for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital said on Monday there's a chance for her to make a good recovery.

She will have to undergo MRIs, CT scans and other procedures necessary before doctors can begin to try to reconstruct her skull.

Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, the hospital announced that there was "more than one" security incident there overnight involving people asking to see Yousufzai, claiming to be her family members.

Birmingham Police later issued a statement saying two well-wishers "were stopped in a public area of the hospital and questioned by police" before being turned away.  

"No arrests were made and at no point was there any threat to Malala," police said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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