International Malala Day is celebrated every year on July 12 on the occasion of young activist Malala Yousafzai’s birthday. The United Nations (UN) designated this date to be marked as Malala Day to honour the young woman who has been advocating for female education. The day is used as an opportunity to appeal to world leaders to ensure compulsory and free education for every child.
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International Malala Day: History and significance
On July 12, 2013, then 16-year-old Pakistani activist delivered a moving speech at the headquarters of the United Nations. She highlighted the need for access to women’s education globally and called the world leaders to reform their policies.
Malala was widely appreciated for her remarkable speech. Since July 12 was her birthday, therefore the UN promptly declared that the day will be celebrated as ‘Malala Day’ to honour the young activist.
About Malala Yousafzai:
Malala Yousufzai was born in Mingora, Pakistan in 1997. She began advocating for women’s education in 2008. In 2012, she was attacked by the Taliban.
Malala has been felicitated with several awards and honours:
- In 2012, she was awarded the first-ever National Youth Peace Prize by the Pakistan government.
- In 2014, at age 17, She became the youngest-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her efforts for children’s rights which had begun even before she was shot.
- The UN declared her as “the most famous teenager in the world” in its Decade in Review report in late 2019.
- Malala has also been awarded honorary Canadian citizenship and became the youngest person to address the House of Commons in Canada.
- The documentary on the activist, He Named Me Malala, was shortlisted for the Oscars in 2015.
- She has also authored another book titled We Are Displaced which chronicles her experiences of travelling the world and visiting refugee camps.