Beliefnet

Pakistani education activist, Malala Yousafzai, becomes the youngest laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize at 17 years old.

Lauded for her advocacy in child education and pushing for equal rights of women in education, she received the prestigious award last Friday.

“I'm proud that I'm the first Pakistani and the first young woman or the first young person getting this award," she said in Birmingham, England.

In October 2012, a Taliban gunman shot her in the head while she was on the way home from school.  She survived and was treated in the UK, where she now resides and attends school.

A teacher informed her of the award while she was in chemistry class. Instead of leaving early to celebrate, she continued to attend classes. Several students and teachers offered their congratulations.

During her acceptance speech, she thanked her parents for “their love and their support.” She encouraged others to support equality for women and education for all.

“I want to see every child going to school. There are still 57 million children who have not received an education,” she explained. 

Along with Yousafzai, the Nobel Prize was jointly awarded to Indian child adctivist, Kailash Satyarthi, who led several peace demonstrations to combat child exploitation. In a press release, the committee explained their decision of awarding Satyarthi and Yousafzai, "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education."

Yousafzai believes the award is only the beginning for her advocacy campaign.

“This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard. And I speak for them, and I stand up with them. And I join them in the campaign,” she said.

“They have the right not to suffer from child labor, child trafficking. They have the right to live a happy life.”

Watch her acceptance speech here.

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