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Malala Yousafzai

An ordinary girl with special hopes and dreams, Malala stood out from the others in her Pashtun tribe. She was born on July 12,1997 in the Swat Valley, (just northwest Pakistan). Living in Pakistan, Malala was at the top of her class and always had an eagerness to expand her knowledge. She was never afraid to voice her opinions in the presence of her family or trade over her educational rights in the hands of the Taliban. So much to the point where she was shot by the fundamentalist group on her way home in October 2012. Fortunately, Malala survived and is able to share her story with girls and women everywhere in the world.

To this day, Malala is a proud educational rights activist for women and currently resides in Birmingham with her family of five, (Malala included).

Ziauddin Yousafzai – Malala’s father plays a key role in the story. Whether he is giving wise advice or defending the Khushal School, his relatonship with Malala is none like the usual treatment Pashtun girls receive from their fathers. It had been Ziaddin’s dream to establish a school, for he believed that there was nothing more important than knowledge. Baba, as Malala would call him, always encouraged his children to follow their dreams despite what society or what the Taliban said. His love for education, schooling, and the equality of rights have inspired Malala. But in a way, she had become more of an inspiration to him.

Toorpekai Yousafzai – Malala’s mother started school at a young age like most children but quit within the same year. She saw no point in going to school because almost all Pashtun women became housewives. But when she came across Malala’s father, she felt regret. As his wife, she wanted to help him accomplish his dreams of opening a school, but being illiterate caused a few challenges with that. Watching her daughter do the impossible in a place where women’s education was forbidden, words cannot express for how proud Toorpekai is of her daughter. Her love and support for Malala has kept her daughter’s dreams even more believable. The Taliban – One of the antagonists of the story, the Taliban, is a group formed by younger Pashtun Tribesmen that ruled Afghanistan from 1996-2001. A U.S invasion thwarted the plans for providing refuge to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, making the Taliban regroup along the border of Pakistan where its leadership, ( in which Mullah Omar is the head), leads an armed rebellion against the government in Kabul.

After taking an exam, as usual, Malala stepped foot on the bus headed for home. Two young men stepped out into the road, bringing the van to an abrupt stop. They asked, “Who is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all”, they shouted harshly. And before she had time to respond, she, along with two other girls, had already been shot by the Taliban.

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