Six years after being shot in the face and neck by a Taliban gunman for her activism, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai has returned to her home country of Pakistan. At just 14, Yousafzai was a courageous advocate for increased girls’ education, which led to the attack. The young girl was airlifted to Great Britain to be treated for the potentially life-threatening wounds.
Naturally, the return was an emotional one. Yousafzai, along with her father and younger brother, met Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad. She gave a short speech at the capital: “It’s the happiest day of my life. I still can’t believe it’s happening,” she said through tears. “I don’t normally cry … I’m still 20 years old but I’ve seen so many things in life,”
The Oxford University student also used the moment to advocate for women’s education and to promote her charity foundation, the Malala Fund, which has helped girls in Pakistan, Nigeria, Jordan, Syria and Kenya. The young activist switched between English, Pashto, and Urdu languages.
Unfortunately, Yousafzai is still ostracized in her own country. While the Prime Minister and the capital welcome her with open arms, her home region of Swat is still too much of a risk to visit. “It’s been long-held desire of Malala Yousafzai and her parents to visit Swat and see her relatives and friends. But she was not given permission due to security concerns,” an anonymous relative said.
One day, Yousafzai will hopefully be praised for her advocacy rather than condemned.