Malala Yousafzai, activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, turns nineteen today. In 2013, the United Nations marked this date as 'Malala Day', in recognition for the Pakistani teen's strength and bravery in the face of extreme danger. On her birthday, let's take a quick look at her journey so far.
Malala began her work in 2009, when she was only 12.
Inspired by her father, who has a love for learning and ran a school, Malala was distraught when the Taliban's presence in Swat, her hometown, intensified. She began to write a blog for BBC Urdu under a pseudonym, and was only revealed to be its author when she was featured in a documentary made for the New York Times.
She's written an autobiography chronicling her journey.
Written with the help of British journalist Christina Lamb, Malala's book, titled I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was shot by the Taliban was received with highly positive reviews. In Pakistan, however, the book was banned by the Private School's Federation, citing a 'negative influence'.
In 2012, her activism nearly cost her life.
She was with her friends on a school-bus when a masked gunman stopped the vehicle and entered it, shooting her and injuring two of her friends in the process. She was in critical condition and sent to England to be treated, and spent three months recovering in the hospital.
She has been recognized worldwide for her courage.
Besides being the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, Malala was also rewarded Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize. She has had countless honours bestowed upon her internationally: she was named Woman of the Year by Glamour Magazine, was granted Honorary Canadian Citizenship, and had an asteroid named in her honour–the list goes on.
On her last birthday, she started a school.
On July 12, 2015, Malala found The Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School in Syria, specifically for adolescent refugees who are unable to access education otherwise. She told the BBC that refugee children risk becoming a 'lost generation' if not given the right to educate and empower themselves. She continues to advocate access to education, and this year will travel to meet schoolgirls across the world.