The Pakistani schoolgirl who survived being shot in the head by the Taliban has received the first donation to her new educational charity.
Malala Yousafzai, who now goes to school in Birmingham, teamed up with Angelina Jolie last night to reveal that the charity had received a gift of $45,000 (Rs 25 lakh).
The 15-year-old described the announcement as ‘the happiest moment in my life’ in a video played at the star-studded Women in the World summit in New York City.
She set up the Malala Fund after surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban in October, in revenge for her standing up for the right to go to school in her home country.
Malala spent hours undergoing major surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where surgeons tried to repair the damage caused by a bullet which grazed her brain.
The grant will be given to an organisation in the Swat Valley in Pakistan to support the education of 40 girls aged five to 12 who would otherwise be forced into domestic labour.
In a video played to an audience of thousands Malala said: “Announcing the first grant of the Malala Fund is the happiest moment in my life. I invite all of you to support the Malala Fund and let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40million girls.”
Jolie, a Hollywood actress and UN special envoy, introduced the video and pledged to give $200,000 to the fund.
She also movingly spoke of Malala’s courage in the face of the Taliban’s attempt to silence her, saying there was ‘always something special’ about her.
“They shot her at point blank range in the head and made her stronger,” Jolie said.
“In a brutal attempt to silence her voice, it grew louder, and she became more resolute in calling on the entire world, not just
Pakistan, to ensure the right for every girl and boy to an education.”
Jolie also paid tribute to Malala’s reluctance to be in the limelight for her own sake, despite her new influence as a campaigner and role model.
“She is powerful, but she is also a sweet, creative, loving little girl who wants to help others and work for others,” Jolie said.
“She doesn’t want to be the centre of attention -- her goal is progress, not notoriety.”