Malala Yousafzai speaks defiantly in support of education for girls around the world


Nine months after the Pakistani Taliban shot her in the head when she was returning home from school, Malala Yousafzai addressed the United Nations speaking defiantly in support of education for girls around the world.

"I am not here to speak against the Taliban," Yousafzai said, speaking to a group of young students from around the world. "I'm here to speak up for the right of every child."

Friday, which is Yousafzai's 16th birthday, was declared "Malala Day" at the United Nations, where she was speaking to the U.N. Youth Assembly, a gathering of young students from around the world.

"Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights," she said.

Calling the pen mightier than a sword, Yousafzai said she wanted education for the sons and daughters of all extremists, especially the Taliban. She added that she did not hate the Taliban fighter who shot her nine months ago. "Even if there is a gun in my hand, and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him," she said.

Yousafzai said despite the Taliban's efforts to silence her, they have failed. "The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born," she said.

Dear brothers and sisters, we want schools and education for every child's bright future. We will continue our journey to our destination of peace and education for everyone. No one can stop us. We will speak for our rights and we will bring change through our voice. We must believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the world.

According to the Associated Press, a study by UNESCO and Save the Children found that there were more than 3,600 documented attacks related to education in 2012, including violence, torture and intimidation against children and teachers, resulting in death or grave injuries, as well as the shelling and bombing of schools and the recruitment of school-aged children by armed groups.

You can read Malala's full speech here.

See images of Malala Yousafzai, and her road to recovery after being shot in October 2012.

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