A Pakistani girl holds a photograph of child 
education activist Malala Yousafzai as she cuts a cake in celebration of Malala winning the Nobel Peace Prize, in Malala's hometown Mingora in Swat valley.
A Pakistani girl holds a photograph of child education activist Malala Yousafzai as she cuts a cake in celebration of Malala winning the Nobel Peace Prize, in Malala's hometown Mingora in Swat valley.

London : Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Prize at the tender age of 17, becoming the youngest ever recipient of the award. The Pakistani teenager first came to international attention when she was 15 after she was shot in the head by a Taliban extremist near her home in north-west Pakistan.

Yousafzai was born in 1997 in the Swat district in northwestern Pakistan. In 2009, at age 11, she began blogging for BBC Urdu under the pen name of Gul Makai. Her blog posts chronicled life under Taliban rule in her hometown of Mingora.  She playfully called the region “My Swat,” according to the BBC.Her diary entries posted on BBC Urdu describe life under the Taliban regime, from facing death threats from militants to dealing with officials banning all girls from schools across the country.

On January 3 2009, Malala wrote: ‘I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taleban. ‘I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.

‘Only 11 students attended the class out of 27. ‘The number decreased because of Taliban’s edict. ‘My three friends have shifted to Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi with their families after this edict.’

When she was revealed as the author of the blog Malala and her father began to receive death threats but by 2011 she had been awarded Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.

A Taliban gunman shot Malala on Oct. 9 in northwestern Pakistan. The militant group said it targeted her because she promoted “Western thinking” and, through a blog, had been an outspoken critic of the Taliban’s opposition to educating girls.

Fortunately, the extremists’ efforts to silence Malala had precisely the opposite effect as she went on to achieve global prominence as an advocate for women’s rights.

After a remarkable recovery from her injuries which involved treatment in Dubai and the UK, Malala settled in Birmingham and has been campaigning tirelessly on women’s rights ever since. “They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed,” Yousafzai said in her U.N. speech. “And then, out of that silence, came thousands of voices.”Yousafzai herself has been forced to live in exile in Britain since her recovery.

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