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Everybody’s Daughter

The Courageous Heart of Malala Yousafzai

In some ways, Malala Yousafzai is just like any another teenager. She and her friends laugh, joke, and discuss everything from Justin Bieber to Twilight books. But she is indeed different. She is the youngest person ever to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Inside this 16-year-old Pakistani girl beats the heart of an amazingly courageous activist tirelessly fighting for the education rights of girls and boys all around the world.  While riding to school in 2012, three men hijacked her bus and shot her in the head at pointblank range. The men were members of a Taliban faction that had taken hold of her village in Swat Valley and were trying to silence Malala’s vocal opposition of a ban strictly prohibiting girls from attending school. But what began as an assassination attempt has sparked an energy that empowered millions of other girls to speak up for their rights.

Thankfully, Malala survived. In a recent interview, Malala said that when she heard she was a target of the Taliban, she often thought about how she would act if she found herself facing down a terrorist. Her first reaction was that she would fight. “I would take off my shoes and hit him,” she said, but reconsidered. “If you hit a Talib, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib,” she said. “You must not treat others with cruelty. You must fight others through peace and through dialogue and through education.” She said, “I would tell him that I not only want education for myself but for your children as well.  Then I would have to let him do whatever he had to do.”

Malala’s strength, conviction and devotion to goodwill in the face of cruelty are rare in a teenager, but when that young person’s once tranquil village is overrun with fear, ignorance, and intimidation, their innocence may actually be the force that motivates them to boldly stand up for what they believe in. Malala believes the Taliban are most afraid of an educated populace and even after her life threatening ordeal, she is more committed than ever to fight for every child’s right to learn, armed with compassion, peace, and her powerful words.

In her book, “I Am Malala,” she writes, “On my sixteenth birthday I was in New York to speak at the United Nations. “This is your chance, Malala,” I said to myself. I wanted to reach all people living in poverty, those children forced to work and those who suffer from terrorism or lack of education. Deep in my heart I hoped to reach every child who could take courage from my words and stand up for his or her rights. “Let us pick up our books and our pens,” I said. “They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.” I didn’t know how my speech was received until the audience gave me a standing ovation. My mother was in tears and my father said I had become everybody’s daughter.“

Malala’s personality is aligned with the infinite expanse of her soul. Authenticity has flowered within her allowing her to transcend boundaries and touch hearts. Her energy is contagious and her vibrational resonance of love is granting her audiences with world leaders.  She is affecting seismic change and shifting people’s energy when she shares her passion for learning and her dream of all-inclusive freedom. Malala is everyone’s daughter because we want for her what we desire for our children and all children around the world – to grow, learn, and live without fear and the threat of brutality.

Although the Taliban has targeted her once again, Malala continues to speak out, stating, “Even if they come to kill me, I will tell them what they are trying to do is wrong, that education is our basic right.” She may not have won the Nobel Prize but her courageous heart and luminous soul are an inspiration to those struggling for equality, freedom and peace.

What better award is there?