Xander Talent is inspired by the story of Malala Yousafzai, in honour of International Human Rights Day, we explore what makes this young woman so special and what she sacrificed for the rights of women everywhere.
For many people around the world Malala represents a lot of things. She stands for Integrity, Bravery, Justice and Inclusion. She fights not just for the rights of herself, but the rights of others also, being world recognized at the forefront of activism for female education. Her story is one of inspiration and admiration.
Malala Yousafzai was born in the Swat region of Pakistan on 12 July 1997. Her father owned and operated a private girls’ school in the area, so education was always in her blood. However, in 2007, the valley was taken over by the Taliban. Whilst she was free to go to school initially, in 2009 they introduced brutal laws prohibiting television, music, girls’ education, and women from going to the market. Floggings and beheadings became commonplace and over 100 girls’ schools were blown up over the period.
As education was so important to Malala, she attended an underground school in plain clothes and began secretly blogging for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban, using the moniker ‘Gul Makai’ to protect her anonymity. This garnered attention, leading Malala, and her father, to be the subject of a New York Times documentary named ‘Class Dismissed: Malala’s Story’, whilst this documentary highlighted the struggles of the people of Swat, it also put a large target on the Yousafzai family’s head receiving numerous death threats.
Whilst this was commonplace in the area based on the family’s activities, it was expected that the threats were aimed towards the father. However, on 9 October 2012, Malala was on a bus on her was home from school when a masked gunman stopped boarded the bus. He is reported to have said “Which one of you is Malala? Speak up, otherwise I will shoot you all.” Malala was shot with one bullet, which travelled 18 inches (46 cm) from the side of her left eye, through her neck and landed in her shoulder.
Malala was flown to the UK at the expense of the Pakistani government to have surgery and recover from the attack which she made a full recovery.
In committing this atrocious attack, The Taliban gave Malala a voice and platform like never before. Malala, whilst still in her teenage years would go on to be a world recognized advocate for women’s educational rights speaking regularly to world leaders and even at the UN on her 16th birthday in 2013.
In 2014, at the age of just 17 Malala became the youngest ever Nobel prize laureate, wining the Nobel peace prize. In 2021, she has also gone on to graduate from Oxford University with honours in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Here at Xander, we admire Malala greatly. Her bravery, tenacity, and perseverance in the face of such grave adversity is something that we could never match, but something we can strive for. In her honour, we have named our meeting room ‘Malala’. We want to be reminded each and every day that the work we do needs to champion others and make the world a better place for all.
Malala has done such a great deal in her short time on this earth so far, leaving a legacy that will last for generations. Whilst she has already had a huge and lasting impact on the world, her story so far has barely been written. Malala will continue to shape the world into a better place for years to come. We hope to create a legacy in her image, by giving a focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, It is our mission to create a better workplace for all where everyone has the same opportunities.