When 11-year-old blogger Malala Yousafzai began detailing her experiences in the Swat Valley of Pakistan for the BBC, she had no idea what momentous changes were coming in her life. Her father, Ziauddin, a school founder and dedicated teacher, was outspoken in his belief that girls, including his beloved daughter, had a right to an education. As they continued to speak out against restrictions imposed by extremists, Ziauddin received constant death threats, so many that he began to sleep in different places. But it was Malala who was almost killed, shot in the head by a gunman on her way home from school. Her survival and recovery have been little short of miraculous.
Instead of being cowed by this horrific attack, Malala began to use the international attention she attracted to advocate for the cause of girls’ education worldwide. Through her speeches, her autobiography I Am Malala, the work of her fund, and her travels to places where girls’ education is in crisis, she has continued to focus on the effort to give all girls safe schools, qualified teachers, and the materials they need to learn.