Margaret Eby
December 10, 2014 8:48 am

Remember Malala Yousafzai, the incredible 17-year-old who became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner ever? Today, in Oslo, Norway, Malala accepted her prize, which she shares with fellow activist Kailash Satyarthi, and gave a moving, wisdom-filled speech about her work as an advocate for children’s education rights.

“I tell my story not because it is unique but because it is not,” she told the audience. “It is the story of many girls. Today, I tell their stories too. I have brought with me some of my sisters from Pakistan, from Nigeria, and from Syria who share this story.”

Malala first received international attention at a very young age. At 11, she began promoting the importance of education for young women, standing up against a Talbian policy preventing young women from going to school. At 14, assassins shot Malala while she was on her way to school. She survived to become an international figure, determined to fight for a young woman’s right to an education.

“I had two options — one was to remain silent and wait to be killed,” Malala said of that moment with the assassins. “And the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.”

In her speech, she also called upon global leaders to help her in this fight for education, “Leaders must seize the opportunity to guarantee primary and secondary education for every child . . . Though I appear as one girl, one person, who is five foot two inches tall if you include my heels, I am not a lone voice. I am many,” she said. “I am Malala but I am also those 66 million girls who are deprived of education. I’m not raising my voice. It is the voice of those 66 million girls.”

Malala said that she’s giving the Nobel prize money to the Malala Fund, an organization that aims to amplify the voices of girls all over the world, as well as building schools in countries like Pakistan. “This is where I will begin, but this is not where I will stop,” Malala said. “I will continue the fight until I see every child in school.” Aside from being one of the most inspiring 17-year-olds, nay women, we’ve ever heard of, Malala also managed to come across as relatable. “I’m the first Pakistani and the youngest person to receive this award,” she said. Then adding, I am pretty certain that I am also the first recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize who still fights with her younger brothers.” Congratulations to this absolute hero. 

Watch the full speech here:

[Image via]

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