“I tell my story, not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls. Today, I tell their stories too.”
A young girl, because of the cultural, socioeconomic, and political circumstances in which she lives, is unable to go to school safely. This is a tragically common story for millions of women and girls around the world. But the story of a girl speaking out publicly against the violent forces attempting to keep her from going to school – being attacked by those forces – and surviving potentially fatal injuries to speak out even more strongly about this issue is not a common story. This story is, in fact, unique – which is why the story of Malala Yousafzai has spread across the globe.
Malala Yousafzai, the now 18-year old Pakistani girl from Swat Valley who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 for speaking out for the girls’ right to education, has become a household name. Malala’s story has been told ever since she started writing for the BBC at the age of 11 under the pen name Gulu Makai. But her story has risen to greater prominence from the news coverage since the attack against her and her continued global activism, her book I Am Malala, and the documentary about her, He Named Me Malala. This young girl has had the opportunity to address heads of state, to speak and travel internationally, and to build a global organization, The Malala Fund. This is not only due to her activism and laudable work, but in large part because of the power of her story. Malala has been able to harness her own story, and the story of other young girls, to build support for her organization’s work to advocate for and to create more opportunities for girls to receive an education.