Malala Day Date in the current year: July 12, 2024

Malala Day Malala Day, sometimes referred to as International Malala Day, is an annual observance dedicated to the Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai who became the world’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate at the age of 17.

Malala Yousafzai, also known as simply Malala, was born to Pakistani education activist Ziauddin Yousafzai and his wide Tor Pekai Yousafzai on July 12, 1997. She was named after Malalai of Maiwand, an Afghan folk hero who encouraged Pashtun fighters during the Battle of Maiwand of the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

Educated mostly at home by her father, Malala began to speak out against gender disparity in education as early as 2008. Although the Constitution of Pakistan states that education is a fundamental right of every citizen, only 18% of Pakistani women receive 10 years or more of schooling for a number of reasons ranging from patriarchate and poverty to the destruction of schools by the Pakistani Taliban.

In 2009, Malala participated in the Open Minds program of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting that engaged school students in discussion on current affairs and social issues through journalism and put them in touch with local newspapers. The same year, her anonymous blog about living in Swat under Taliban rule was posted by BBC Urdu.

In the summer of 2009, The New York Times correspondent Adam B. Ellick filmed a documentary about Malala’s activism. Following the documentary, Malala was interviewed by a number of media. By the time her identity as a blogger for BBC Urdu was revealed in late 2009, Malala had fully committed to advocating for female education.

Malala’s public profile continued to rise during the following years. However, the more recognized she became, the more dangers she faced. On October 9, 2021, the 15-year-old Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban fighter as she was returning home on a bus after taking an exam. After shooting, she was treated in a number of hospitals, ending up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. She was discharged from the hospital on January 3, 2013, but underwent another operation on February 2.

Upon recovery, Malala continued her activism. She spoke before United Nations on her 16th birthday in her first public appearance since the attack. The event was dubbed Malala Day. In October 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which she shared with Indian social reformer Kailash Satyarthi.

Since then, Malala’s advocacy for female education has grown into an international movement, and the Malala Fund that she founded in 2013 has helped thousands of girls to continue education. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, the 21st prime minister of Pakistan, has referred to Malala as her home country’s most prominent citizen.

There are many ways for you to observe Malala Day. For example, you can watch the 2015 documentary He Named Me Malala, read one of Malala’s books, donate to the Malala Fund or any other non-profit that advocates for girls’ education, and raise awareness about the observance and Malala’s cause on social media with the hashtag #MalalaDay.

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Malala Day, Malala Yousafzai, gender disparity in education, social activism, female education activism