Excerpts and photo from an article,
June 19, 2020, 8:35 AM MDT
By Adela Suliman at NBC news
Three bullets to the head were supposed to stop her.
But education advocate Malala Yousafzai not only survived the attack, she went on to win global acclaim and, on Friday, graduate from one of the world's top universities.
Eight years after being shot by the Pakistani Taliban, the advocate for female education and the world's youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner shared a photo of herself smothered in cake as she celebrated her Philosophy, Politics and Economics degree from Britain's Oxford University.
"Hard to express my joy and gratitude right now," she wrote to her 3 million social media followers.
"My father was a teacher and ran a girl's school in our village."
"I loved school. But everything changed when the Taliban took control of our town in Swat Valley. The extremists banned many things — like owning a television and playing music — and enforced harsh punishments for those who defied their orders. And they said girls could no longer go to school.
In January 2008 when I was just 11 years old, I said goodbye to my classmates, not knowing when — if ever — I would see them again."
"I was vocal and spoke out very publicly on behalf of girls and our right to learn and this made me a target."
"In October 2012, on my way home from school, a masked gunman boarded my school bus and asked, “Who is Malala?” He shot me on the left side of my head."
"I woke up 10 days later in a hospital in Birmingham, England. The doctors and nurses told me about the attack — and that people around the world were praying for my recovery."
"After months of surgeries and rehabilitation, I joined my family in our new home in the U.K."
"It was then I knew I had a choice: I could live a quiet life or I could make the most of this new life I had been given. I determined to continue my fight until every girl could go to school."
"With my father, who has always been my ally and inspiration, I established Malala Fund, a charity dedicated to giving every girl an opportunity to achieve a future she chooses. In recognition of our work, I received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 2014 and became the youngest-ever Nobel laureate."
She graduated from Oxford's Lady Margaret Hall college, which boasts a number of prominent alumni, including two current members of Britain's political cabinet — Dominic Raab and Michael Gove — as well as Yousafzai's idol, Pakistan's first female prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto herself was gunned down on the campaign trail in Pakistan in December 2007.
Like many young students during the coronavirus pandemic, formal graduation ceremonies have been cancelled or shifted online and Yousafzai remains at home with her family.
"I don't know what's ahead," she wrote. "For now, it will be Netflix, reading and sleep."