Wednesday 20 November 2019

Malala pledges to keep fighting for girls' rights

Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban
Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousufzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban

Sylvia Hui London

In her first video statement since she was nearly killed, a Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban remained defiant in arguing for girls' education, saying she would keep up the same campaign that led to her attack.

Speaking clearly but with the left side of her face appearing rigid, 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai said she was "getting better, day by day" after undergoing weeks of treatment at a British hospital.

"I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated. For that reason, we have organised the Malala Fund," she said.

Malala drew the world's attention when she was shot in the head by Taliban militants on October 9 while on her way home from school in northwestern Pakistan. The Islamist group said it targeted her because she promoted girls' education and "Western thinking" and criticised the militant group's behaviour when it took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived.

The shooting sparked outrage in Pakistan and many other countries, and her story has captured global attention for the struggle for women's rights in her homeland.

In a sign of her impact, the teen made the shortlist for 'Time' magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2012.

"Today you can see that I am alive. I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone," Malala said.

"It's just because of the prayers of people. Because all people – men, women, children – all of them have prayed for me.

"And because of all these prayers, God has given me this new life, a second life," she added.

Malala was airlifted to Britain from Pakistan in October to receive specialised medical care and protection against further Taliban threats.

She is expected to remain in the UK for some time as her father, Ziauddin, has secured a post with the Pakistani consulate in the English city of Birmingham.

The Malala Fund is a girls' education charity set up in late 2012. It was launched with a $10m donation from Pakistan.

Irish Independent

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