Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who first gained international attention for being shot in the head and nearly killed by the Taliban, celebrates her birthday on July 12. As she turns 18 today, we look at some of the interesting facts of the inspirational teenager.
Malala is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate at the age of 17. As the global spokesperson for girls’ education, Malala has relentlessly advocated on behalf of her cause, continuing to speak out, despite increased Taliban threats.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai greets the audience at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert at the Oslo spectrum on December 11, 2014. Pic/AFP
>> When the Taliban took over Malala's town in 2009, she wrote about her experiences for BBC under a pseudonym. She was banned from going to school, but did it because she firmly believed in womens' rights to education.
>> She was only 15 years old when she was shot by the Taliban. The incident happened in 2012 when she was in a bus campaigning for education of girls in Pakistan, when the Taliban reportedly hijacked the bus and singled her out, shooting her in the head and the neck.
>> Malala started speaking about education rights when she was just 11 years old. Once her father took her to Peshawar to speak at the local press club where she asked the audience, "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?" This speech was covered by newspapers and television channels throughout the region.
>> The attack on Malala caused Pakistan to create their first ever Right to Education Bill.
>> She has already published a book about her attack and aftermath called "I Am Malala." It also gives you an insight into her teenage life.
>> Malala's birthday has been also dubbed as the 'Malala Day' by the United States. On her 16th birthday, she also she spoke at the headquarters of the United Nations to call for worldwide access to education.
>> In 2013, the Malala Fund was officially launched by Malala Yousafzai. The aim of the organisation is to help young girls attend school and to raise awareness on how badly young girls have been treated in Pakistan.
>> A 2013 issue of Time magazine featured Malala as one of 'The 100 Most Influential People in the World'.
>> Malala once stated in an interview that she would like to become a doctor, though later she changed her career focus to politics.
>> Malala has won multiple peace prizes over 40 honours and awards due to her heroic and incredible activism for upliftment of women and children.