Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, was all smiles as she met her lifelong friend who was injured in the same attack. She met Shazia Ramzan again for the first time at Birmingham Airport.
They were attacked on October 9 last year. Shazia (15), suffered gun wounds to the neck and shoulder and Malala was shot in the head, and has been recovering in the UK.
The two teenagers were on a school bus on October 9 when Taliban gunmen came in search of Malala, a vocal campaigner for girls’ education.
Malala was shot in the head while Shazia suffered gun wounds to the neck and shoulder. Malala was airlifted to Birmingham soon after the attack, but Shazia stayed in Pakistan and was unable to go to school because of continued threats to her life.
Living under constant guard, her education was virtually impossible to continue. Now, following the recent surge of violence, Shazia has been granted a student visa by the UK to fulfil her dream of becoming a doctor.
Shazia, whose family faced months of intimidation in Pakistan, said, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to study here and try to become a doctor. It’s so sad that there are millions of girls around the world in my situation. I want every girl to go to school.”
With support from charities, including a scholarship from her new school, she has gained a place to complete her studies.
Her ambition is to return to Pakistan as a qualified doctor. Shazia continued, “I wanted so much to stay in Pakistan and complete my education but constant threats made this impossible.”
She added, “I have already raised the issue with the Pakistani prime minister, calling for action for girls to stay on at school.”