Malala Yousafzai is fifteen years old. Five months ago, she was the target of a Taliban assassination. Her crime? Campaigning for girls’ education and attending school. But today, she is back on her feet and in school after being treated in Pakistan and England.
“I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school,” she said. “I want all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity.
“I miss my classmates from Pakistan very much, but I am looking forward to meeting my teachers and making new friends here in Birmingham.”
Tuesday, March 19th, was Malala’s first day back in school. She is attending Edgbaston High School in Birmingham, England. She was transported there for treatment after being treated initially in Pakistan for her wounds.
She was riding home from school when it happened. On October 9th, the van was stopped by a group of masked men who demanded Malala be identified. When her identity was revealed, the Taliban gunmen shot her twice: once in the head and once in the neck. Another classmate of Malala’s was also shot and wounded.
Her skull was shattered from the gunshots, and two of her many surgeries focused on repairing that damage and restoring her hearing. It took four months for her to walk again, but she did in February. Now just one month after taking her first steps after the incident, she’s back to school.
“I have the right of education,” she said to CNN in 2011. “I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to the market. I have the right to speak up.”
And speak up she did. Malala gained international praise when she wrote a blog in 2009 that was published by the BBC. In the piece, she talked about wanting to go to school as a girl but being too afraid to do so. After it was published, she gave several interviews to news outlets worldwide, spreading word about the state of education in her homeland.
She’s still not fully rehabilitated, but she’s getting there. It takes a strong young woman to come back from the brink of death, and we suspect the incident will only make her want to spread her message further than before.