Photo from: White House Flickr Page
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A year ago, a 15-year-old girl in Pakistan named Malala was shot by the Taliban.
Malala Yousafzai lived in Mingora, Swat. She was on her way back from school when a man approached the van (school bus) she was in and asked for her. When he figured out which girl was Malala, he shot her in the head at point blank range. He also injured two other girls next to her.
Working as a correspondent in Pakistan at that time, I watched images of her unconsious body being pulled into the ambulance. The images were broadcasted on every local news station. With what seemed like a blink of an eye, she not only survived but was flown out of the country. We would not know at that time the impact this little girl will have on the world, for a cause that she had been campaigning for since she was 11.
That cause is education.
Her courage and strength is evident as she spoke confidently sitting next to the president of the World Bank in Washington, D.C. today.
"God has saved my life. He has given me a new life... for a cause," she said.
She touched on many issues people were interested in. Her campaign for education for every girl and boy in the world, her life with her family at home, and her future goals. Malala believes that there are two main reasons why children are deprived from education. One being poverty and the second being cultural norms and taboos.
"Children are starving for education. We need to help them. We need to take action," she said.
She believes education is the only solution to most of the problems in the world, including terrorism. She has said that she has forgiven the Taliban. Though she talked about the strict rules that the Taliban imposed on the people of Swat and the stress that was caused with people moving out of their homes, and bombings on a daily basis, she still stands by her mission of promoting peace through pens and books. "The best way to fight terrorism is not through guns."
Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai who ran a chain of schools in Swat accompanied his daughter to all the events in Washington. He said she is a 'good girl' and quoted his own daughter in response to a question on the politics that shape our world today.
"Send pens, not guns. Books, not tanks. Send teachers, not soldiers."
She smiled as the audience applauded. The same girl that was in critical condition only a year ago, has written a memoir, travelled to speak about education, and set up a fund
that empowers girls who want to be educated.