Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai is featured on the last TeenVogue cover of 2019, which highlights “brilliant, world-changing demands of teens across the world” in a decade defined by “the rise of youth activism” and protest.
In an interview with the magazine, Malala reveals how education came to be her top priority and stressed, “Education is the best investment that you can make.”
And not just because the data says so.
“I realised that if I cannot go to school, my life could be early child marriage, becoming a mother, becoming a grandmother, and not having the opportunity to be myself, to explore the opportunities that are available out there that a boy would have access to. But I would not.”
On 9 October 2012, as Malala and her friends were travelling home from school, a masked gunman entered their school bus and asked for Malala by name. She was shot with a single bullet which went through her head, neck and shoulder. Two of her friends were also injured in the attack.
Malala survived the initial attack, but was in a critical condition. She was moved to Birmingham in the United Kingdom for treatment at a hospital that specialises in military injuries. She was not discharged until January, 2013 by which time she had been joined by her family in the UK.
The Taliban’s attempt to kill Malala received worldwide condemnation and led to protests across Pakistan. In the weeks after the attack, over 2 million people signed a right to education petition, and the National Assembly swiftly ratified Pakistan’s first Right To Free and Compulsory Education Bill.
Malala accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on 10 December, 2014 with Indian children’s rights and education advocate Kailash Satyarthi. Malala contributed her entire prize money of more than $500,000 to financing the creation of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.