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Malala the Role Model

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Cheers were heard around the globe when Malala Yousafzai was discharged from the hospital, nearly three months after Taliban gunmen shot her in the head while she rode a school bus home.

If you feel your children are old enough to understand her plight, it’s time to share it with them. She serves as a positive influence and role model to counter the self-absorbed entitlement we observe in many of today’s young people (and adults).

There are many ways to describe Malala—brave, courageous, admirable, inspirational, yet no single word seems to encompass how amazing this 15-year-old truly is. Her quest for education began as a young child, supported by her father Ziauddin Yousafzai who owns several schools in Pakistan and encouraged her to become a politician.

The world first got to know her in 2009 when her father helped facilitate blog posts depicting life under the Taliban rule in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. Her writings, which were published in her blog under a pseudonym for the BBC, spoke out against the Taliban’s attempt to ban girls from attending school, and her desire to get an education.

Malala gained much attention. She appeared in print, television, a New York Times documentary and she was appointed as chairperson of the District Child Assembly Swat. She has also been honored with numerous awards for peace and social justice, including Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize. She is only 15 years old.

This past October, she and two friends were shot on a school bus. The bullet grazed her brain, rather than going straight through it, which likely saved her life and prevented any significant brain damage. She transferred to a hospital in the United Kingdom for her safety and to undergo rehabilitation.

On Thursday, January 3, nearly three months after the shooting, Malala walked out of the hospital. She will be temporarily staying in the UK, and she will undoubtedly continue her quest for women’s education.

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