She was shot point blank by the Taliban simply for wanting to go to school, but Malala Yousufzai still believes that she is the “luckiest,” the ardent activist told a crowd at the Mashable Social Good Summit on Monday.
Joined by her father, Shiza Shahid, CEO of the Malala Fund, and Elizabeth Gore, resident entrepreneur at the UN Foundation, Malala shared how she’s grown since she was attacked by the terrorist organization in Pakistan 10 months ago and how her supporters have motivated her to continuing fighting for the rights of girls.
“When I see the support and the love of people, I forget about the incident,” Malala said on Monday. “But when I look at the smiles, when I look at the happiness of people, when I look at their support and their love -- I think I am that the luckiest one. I am the most lucky girl…You all supported me. You all stood up for me.”
The 16-year-old, who was recently awarded the Children’s Peace Prize, echoed her resolve to bring education to every child and to put an end to the injustices that young people are being subjected to across the world.
“[Children] are suffering from child labor. They’re suffering from child trafficking. They’re suffering from terrorism,” Malala said. “We need to stand up for them. We need to speak up for them. We must do it now. We should not wait for the government to do it. We should do it by ourselves. It is our duty.”
Malala has already put her words into action. She recently teamed up with former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to raise $500 million over the next three years to help educate the more than 300,000 Syrian children refugees now living in Lebanon, Time reported.
Her eponymous fund, which is slated to officially launch this fall, will also work to bring education to disadvantaged communities and to amplify the voices of advocates worldwide.
It’s a goal that Malala’s father, Ziauddin, believes he helped prepare her for, but is now up to her to take ownership of.
“In most parts of the world, when a girl is born…her wings are clipped -- she’s not allowed to fly. I tried to make her free and independent,” Ziauddin said on Monday. “Now it’s up to her, what she chooses for herself.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of Syrian child refugees living Lebanon.