Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousafzai, who became a target of Taliban in October 2012 and defied death after a serious gunshot injury, turned 19-year-old today (Tuesday, July 12).
In recognition of her bravery and in honour of her heroic stand to ensure education for all, the United Nations in 2013 declared that July 12 will be annually observed as "Malala Day" worldwide.
The world's youngest nobel laureate is an inspiration and voice of many girls who want to educate themselves. Malala is the first citizen from Pakistan to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
The girl, hailing from Swat valley of Pakistan, created history when she delivered a motivational speech at the United Nations Youth Conference in New York in July 2013 and stood confidently as a symbol of teenage bravery and educational activism.
Let's take a look at what made an ordinary teenager Malala into a global personality.
After bravely facing death threats from Taliban, Malala successfully emerged as a face of child's right to education.
Born on July 12, 1997, Malala's advocacy for girls education grown into an international movement. Her activism towards education began from her hometown in Swat valley, where she stood and raised her voice against the so-called banishment of girls education by the dreaded terror-organisation Taliban.
Malala's contribution in education
On July 12, 2015, on her 18th birthday, Malala opened a school in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, near the Syrian border, for Syrian refugees. [Malala urges Syria conference to give millions for education]
Awards & Recognition
In 2013, 2014 and 2015, Malala's name featured in "The 100 Most Influential People in the World" in TIME magazine.
In Feb 2014, she was nominated for the World Children's Prize in Sweden.
In October 2014, Malala, alongwith India's Kailash Satyarthi became the proud recipient of 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
In October 2013, Yousafzai's memoir I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban, was published.
In October 2013, she also met the US President Barack Obama and his fmily, where she discussed the issue of drone strikes in Pakistan.
In July 2013, she met Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace and in September, she spoke at Harvard University.
In 2012, the Pakistani government awarded her the National Peace Award - subsequently renamed the National Malala Peace Prize - for those under 18 years old.
In 2011, she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by The Kids Rights Foundation.
In 2009, she began writing blogs on BBC Urdu , under a pseudonym. Subsequently, a documentary film was made about her life.
What changed Malala's life in October 2012?
On October 9, 2012, the teenaged girl was attacked by a gang of Taliban fighters in Mingora, the main town of Swat Valley, for speaking out against the militants.
After undergoing surgery in Peshawar to remove a bullet lodged near her spine, Malala was flown to Britain's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for further treatment and rehabilitation.
After a remarkable recovery against all odds, Malala began her life with a new journey, when she resumed her studies in March 2013 at the all-girls' Edgbaston High School in Birmingham.