Malala Yousafzai

In October 2012, when Malala Yousafzai was aged just 15, Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. She was already famous in Pakistan: she had been blogging about education for girls since 2009, when the Taliban banned girls from going to school in her area.

As she sat recuperating in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Malala became internationally famous. Well-wishers across the world remarked on her courage.

She is now the UN’s youngest ambassador for peace, at the same time as studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University. On Friday, she will celebrate her birthday. It is a chance to remember the role that young people can play in society, whilst highlighting the importance of universal education.

Around 130 million girls aged 6-17 are not in school, according to UNESCO. But educating women has countless benefits: it improves health, boosts the economy, and educated women tend to marry later and have fewer children. All of this helps to lift communities out of poverty.

As Malala said after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, “Education is one of the blessings of life, and one of its necessities.”

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Listen to Malala Yousafzaia’s powerful speech about the importance of education.


  1. Who do you think should win the Nobel Peace Prize this October? Take it in turns to nominate people who have worked to promote peaceful outcomes (you may need to research this), and then vote as a class.
  2. Choose a country where large numbers of children do not go to school. Produce a short report on how many children are missing out on education, and why.
  3. Read Malala’s blog posts about her education in Pakistan here. Then, write a short blog post about your own education.