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Malala Yousafzai is now the youngest person to ever receive a Nobel Prize in any category after she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this year at just sixteen. She became a prominent activist and writer following the Taliban decision to ban education for girls in her school situated in the Swat valley. Malala’s rise to public attention came after her diary, documenting life under the Taliban rule was published on BBC Urdu in 2009. She wrote this diary aged only 11 under the pseudonym Gul Makai, a name taken from a Pashtun folk tale that she admired. This publication brought Malala great fame throughout her home county of Pakistan but also caused a shocking and appalling act which would bring her worldwide acknowledgment and further fuel her desire to make a change. In late 2012 she was shot in the head by a gunman acting on behalf of the Taliban. The gunman boarded her school bus and opened fire after threatening to shoot everyone on the bus if Malala did not identify herself. Luckily, the bullet that hit Malala did not enter her skull but travelled under her skin and into her shoulder.

After receiving delicate surgery at a military hospital in Pakistan, Malala was sent to the UK to finish her recovery where she was fitted with a Titanium plate and cochlear implant to enable her to hear. She has since started attending Edgbaston high school in the UK where her studies can continue without the threat of Taliban militants. A fund has now been set up under Malala’s name by her parents and helps many children who face persecution and oppression in education. Angelina Jolie announced the start of this fund and is a strong supporter of it. The charity intends to fund the education of 40 girls in Pakistan, this however could only be the start as Jolie has been quoted saying “I invite you all to support the Malala fund and let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million”.

Since the shooting Malala has gone on to sign a deal worth around $3 Million for her book “I Am Malala” and is internationally acknowledged as a supporter of peace and voice for those who cannot be heard. She was ranked 6th in a news paper list of the top ten most influential people in 2013 above Barack Obama who was placed 7th. On being shown this list by her father Malala is said to have replied “I don’t think human beings should be categorised that way”. This quote alone stands out as indication of Malala’s powerful and individual mind set. She strongly believes that everyone in the world deserves a right to education and is an unarguably inspiring figure for anyone facing persecution across the globe. Malala has truly earned her place amongst other Nobel Prize winners such as Nelson Mandela and the aforementioned Barack Obama and will likely continue to help the disadvantaged masses for years to come.