Malala Yousafzai (Pashto: ملاله یوسفزۍ Malālah Yūsafzay , born July 12, 1997) is a school student and education activist from the town of Mingora in the Swat District of Pakistan’sKhyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She is known for her education and women’s rights activism in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban has at times banned girls from attending school. In early 2009, at the age of 11/12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai began to rise in prominence, giving interviews in print and on televisionand taking a position as chairperson of the District Child Assembly Swat. She has since been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize by Desmond Tutu and has won Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize.
On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to a hospital in the United Kingdom for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, and the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown launched a United Nations petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala” and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015. Brown said he would hand the petition to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari in November.