An Audacious 17-Year-Old Asks For Something On Her Birthday That I Really Hope She Gets

Malala is asking for a tall order here. I commend her for using her birthday to try to do some good. She starts asking for the really big stuff around the 15:00 mark.

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Thank you.

Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. In the name of the God,

the most merciful, most beneficial, who is the God of all


I would like to say hello, Asalaam Alaykum, and welcome to

all of you.

Dear sisters and brothers, on this Malala Day, I am

honoured. I am honoured to be here with brave children,

students, teachers, social activists, and Nigerian people.

Last Malala Day, I was in New York, in the big hall of the

United Nations General Assembly. This year, I chose

instead to turn 17 on the soil of Nigeria. (Applause)

And I chose this for a purpose which is to honor and

celebrate the strength of the children in Nigeria, and children

across the world who are deprived of their basic right of


I thank the Nigerian people for their warm welcome. You

are an incredible, strong nation. You work every day to fight

against your challenges through your unity, resilience and



Dear brothers and sisters, last Malala Day, I told my story.

I spoke about my life in the beautiful valley of Swat in

Pakistan. I spoke about the rise of terrorism and the ban on

girls’ education there, in my hometown. I spoke about the

Taliban’s attack on my life, an attempt to silence me forever.

And now I will repeat, I will repeat what I said last year, that

nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and

hopelessness died, strength, power and courage was born.


When I was shot by the Taliban, the world stood up. “I

am Malala” was the cry that I heard all around the world.

I received thousands of good wish cards and letters from

people. And I believe that God saved my life because of

people's prayers.

Today, this Malala Day, I am not here to tell my story.

Because I am not the only one who has been a target of

extremism, there are hundreds and thousands of children

who are suffering and suffering from terrorism and violence

and do not have any access to education.

I speak for those children whose right to safety, health and

quality education has been snatched from them. I speak for

the 66 million girls who are out of school.

This Malala Day is the day for education of every child and

is dedicated to my dear, dear, and dear Nigerian sisters


who are going through the same brutal situation which I

suffered through in my past. I dedicate this day to my sisters

in Nigeria. (Applause).

I will begin with a story. I am here to tell you about a story

about a girl whom I met yesterday. I am really sorry that I

cannot mention her name, but I will call her, my sister.

My sister comes from the Nigerian village of Chibok. She is

16 years old.

One day, when my sister was in school, some armed

terrorists, known as Boko Haram came and tried to steal

her dreams. They kidnapped her. But she was one of those

luckiest ones who escaped from the abduction.

Before that her father got killed and her mother and sister

got injured in the unstable situation in the North of Nigeria.

Since this attack, because of insecurity and poverty, she

can no more go to school. And her favourite subject is

biology and she wants to become a doctor.

Everyday, Boko Haram raids nearby villages to terrorise

the local people. Over 200 girls were kidnapped and still

have not returned. Next week, it will be 100 days. 100 days

since they were taken. 100 days in captivity. 100 days out of

school. 100 days without parents. 100 days under fear.

Dear sisters and brothers, not only in Nigeria, but in the

situation all around the world especially in the Middle East


countries, African countries and Pakistan is getting worse

every day and children do not have access to education.

And their studies are badly effected.

Around 57 million children are out of school.

10.5 million children in Nigeria do not have access to

education. Around 400 girls in total are abducted by Boko

Haram in Nigeria.

7 million children in Pakistan are deprived of education.

And about 900,000 people are homeless in Pakistan. In

Pakistan, they had to leave their homes for their safety as

there is a military operation is going on against terrorists

because of which many children now do not have any

access to education and they are out of school.

Girls from Syria who were once in school and learning, now

live in a camp, and struggle to understand a new life as a

refugee. While the world is standing silent, doing nothing

and the children in Syria are becoming a generation lost.

Because of conflict between Gaza and Israel, people are

badly affected and children on both sides are suffering

and recently many children died because of air strikes in

Palestine, unfortunately.

Yes, sisters and brothers, issues are countless.


But I am here to tell you my birthday wish on this prestigious

occasion and to ask the responsible people to listen to the

voice of the Nigerian girls and their parents for whom I am

honouring today.

This birthday is not a kind of celebration where I will be

having an enjoyment and eating cake and those things. This

birthday I want to celebrate it, standing up with my Nigerian

sisters and their parents, who are right here behind me.

Thank you so much for coming here. (Applause).

Thank you so much for coming here, both my sisters and

their parents, because I know there will be many, many

people who will be coming towards you and asking you

questions and doing interviews. I know that your life is

badly affected and these girls they have escaped from the

kidnapping and they need some time to just sit quiet and

just enjoy their life, just to relax for a little while, but they

have sacrificed their time for this purpose that they want to

tell the government to listen to their voices, listen to their

voices and see to their wishes. Thank you so much. Thank

you. You are standing for those girls who are still under the

abduction. Thank you for supporting me.

And Malala Day. Malala Day is a day where we all stand

together for those that are voiceless. For those that are

voiceless and must be heard. But for things to change it

must be a day of action.


Through our own organisation, the Malala Fund, we have

raised about 200,000 dollars that will be given to two

Nigerian-led organisations, Girl Child Concern and the

Center for Girls Education.

The heads of these two organisations are here with us

today, (I don’t know where they are, somewhere around

here) and I am really thankful to them for the work that they

are doing and for becoming partners with us, which will help

us to empower and to educate Nigerian girls. Thank you so

much. (Applause)

I know that my small contribution is not enough. We still

need a lot to do. But it is a start. I am just one girl. And this

is what I could do in such a short time.

But the question here is what will the adults do? What will

the responsible people do? What will the leaders do?

Dear brothers and sisters, one thing about today which

was very important was my meeting with the honourable

President Mr. Goodluck Jonathan. I met him today and I told

him that I raise my voice of my sisters. I am representing

my sisters and their parents to you today. And as you

have been elected president, you need to fulfill your

responsibilities. (Applause). Thank you. And I told him that

you need to fulfill your responsibility and your responsibility

is to listen to your people who are saying bring back our


girls. (Applause).

And luckily the President did make two promises. He made

two promises to me and to you, to the people of his country.

He promised that the government will choose the best

option to bring back girls alive and safe. And the second

promise he made, the second promise he made, is very

important, is that he will meet the parents of those girls

who are abducted and I am hopeful that he will fulfill it.

(Applause). I am hopeful that the President will meet you

soon, because he made this promise to me and to you and

to all Nigerian people.

But today I am not only asking the president and the

government of Nigeria to take action, but I am also asking

Boko Haram. I ask Boko Haram to stop misusing the name

of Islam. (Applause).

I ask Boko Haram to stop misusing the name of Islam.

Islam is a religion of peace. Islam allows every girl and

every boy to get education, to go to school. And education

is compulsory in Islam. (Applause). The word Islam means

peace. And the first word that was revealed on Prophet

was Iqra, read, read, read. Islam gives the message of

tolerance, patience, harmony and humanity.

I want to tell Boko Haram. Think about your own sisters, just

think for awhile, think about your own sisters. If they suffer

through the same brutal and harsh situation how would


you feel, feel if your sisters are homeless, if they are under

the captivity of someone that are so violent and cruel, how

would you feel. Those who are under your imprisonment are

like your sisters. Islam gives a message of brotherhood. We

are all sisters and brothers (applause). You are misusing

the name of Islam. You are misusing the name of Islam,

but you haven’t read the Quran yet. You haven’t read about

Islam yet. You should know that Islam gives a message of

brotherhood. Islam says that we are all sisters and brothers,

and that we should respect each other’s cultures, religions,

and languages that we speak, which is to respect each


So I would request you lay down your weapons, release

your sisters. Lay down your weapons, release your sisters,

release my sisters, and release the daughters of this nation.

(Applause). Release the daughters of this nation. Let them

be free; they have committed no crime.

And to Nigerian people, I would like to say that Nigeria is a

rich country not because it has oil resources but because

it has people with the wealth of tolerance, bravery and

courage. (Applause).

Because people with the wealth of humanity, this is the

wealth of people, this is the wealth of this country. People

are the ones who build nations. So make your country

stronger by your unity and togetherness. Make it stronger.

Make it stronger. And do not judge each other on the basis


of your religion, cast, colour, creed or the language that you

speak. Because these are just for our identity. These are not

for how we should treat each other. We should treat each

other as human beings. We are all human beings and we

should treat each other as human beings. We should not

be screaming at each other on the basis of religion and the

language that we speak.

And today I call upon the world community. I call upon

the world communty to protect girls across the world.

Protect girls from inhuman acts and violence that girls in

India are suffering, as they were hung after the rape in

May. Protect girls from the cruelty which girls in my home

country Pakistan are suffering through, where they are

forced to marry, leaving the schools to become brides,

when they should be girls. Giving birth to children when they

themselves are children.

No child, anywhere, no child anywhere, ever, should be

target of conflict or violence. (Applause).

To the girls of Nigeria, you all are sitting here. To the girls

of Nigeria and across Africa, and all over the world, I want

to say don’t let anyone tell you that you are weaker than or

less than anything. You are not less than a boy. You are

not less than a child from a richer family or a richer country.



You are the future of your country. You are going to build

up your nation. You are going to build up your country. And

YOU are stronger than anything and YOU can lead the


Toady I ask all countries to say no to wars. Let us say no to

wars. Let us talk. Let us bring peace. Why not use dialogue?

Why not talk to each other? We are treating each other like

animals. We are no more human beings.

And I request that the war between Israel and Gaza should

be ended. (Applause).

The conflict in Ukraine should be resolved.

The bloodshed in Iraq and Syria should be stopped.

The terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan should be

eliminated. (Applause).

And violence in Nigeria and other Middle Eastern African

countries should be ended. Violence anywhere, in any

country, war anywhere, in any countries, should be ended.

Let’s say no to wars.

And instead of spending money on wars, and guns and

weapons, why not spend this money on education? Why

not spend this money on education? A country becomes

powerful, when its people are educated, when its future

generation is educated. So to make a country powerful,

don’t make weapons, don’t spend money on weapons, but

rather spend the money on education and the people of that



Let us all stand together. Stand together for peace and

education because together we are more powerful.

Stronger than any challenge. You are stronger than any


We are stronger than fear.

Stronger than hatred. Stronger than cruelty.

Stronger than any kind of violence and stronger than


We are stronger than any challenge.

Education is the best weapon through which we can fight

poverty, ignorance and terrorism.

The road to education, peace and equality is very long. It is

a very long journey. But if we go together, we will achieve

our goals and we will complete our journey. We have to

walk together.

History is neither sent from the sky nor does it get made up

by itself, it is we who make the history, it is we who become

the history.

Let us make history and bring change by becoming a



Let us not forget that one book, one pen, one child and one

teacher can change the world. (Applause).

Thank you.


There may be small errors in this transcript.

I got this from Malala. You know what else I hope we get from her? Some more of her intrepid spirit and good-heartedness. May we all find the courage she has when we need it. Here's the link to the Malala Fund, which educates girls in four countries.

Jul 25, 2014

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