11 October 2014

Young people CAN make the world a better place!

Malala Yousafzay
Malala accepting her NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
Malala's speech to the United Nations General Assembly 2013
TED talks on the importance of educating girls

Article by Arthur, Pierre and Paul from the Ensemble Scolaire International Massillon in Clermont-Ferrand (France):

Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday 10th October 2014.

Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani teenager who defied the Taliban to promote the education of girls, and Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian children’s rights activist.

They won for their “struggle against the oppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education”. In its citation, the Nobel Committee noted it was “an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism”.

Malala Yousafzai, now 17, was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago. She only just survived the attack and has continued to campaign vociferously for girls’ education. She is the youngest Nobel laureate in history.

Speaking at a news conference in Birmingham, where she is now based, the teen said she was honoured to be the youngest person and the first Pakistani to ever receive the prestigious prize: "The award is for all the children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard," she said.

Born in the picturesque Swat Valley in northwestern Pakistan, Malala first gained attention in 2009, when she was just 12, after she wrote a diary about life in her native Swat as it fell under Taliban influence. Her sagacious insights into the importance of education and her determination to buck the Taliban clampdown on girls’ education caught the attention of the BBC, which published her diary.

Three years later, the Pashtun student made international headlines when she was shot in the head at close range in her school bus by a Taliban militant.

She survived the attack, enduring a life-saving operation in Pakistan before being airlifted to Britain for further treatment and extensive rehabilitation.

Barely nine months after her traumatic, near-death experience, the outspoken Pakistani girl riveted audiences across the world when she gave a speech to the United Nations on her 16th birthday, a day the United Nations celebrated as “Malala Day”.

Responding to the news of the award on Friday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulated the schoolgirl and called her “the pride” of his country.

Satyarthi, founder of the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan (“Save the Childhood Movement”) has maintained the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, “focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,'' the Nobel committee said.

Unlike the Pakistani teen, Satyarthi was relatively unknown on the international stage before Friday’s Nobel Peace Prize announcement.

Satyarthi is known in his native India for his work in helping tens of thousands of children, forced into slavery by businessmen, landowners and others, to gain their freedom.

Reacting to the news on Friday, Kailash thanked the Nobel committee for "recognising the plight of millions of children who are suffering in this modern age”.

Satyarthi said in an interview on an Indian TV station: "Something which was born in India has gone global and now we have a global movement against child labour. After receiving this award, I feel that the people will give more attention to the cause of the children in the world."

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