Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban, has told the UN that books and pens scare extremists, as she urged education for all.
Speaking on her 16th birthday, Malala said efforts to silence her had failed.
She was shot in the head on a school bus by Taliban gunmen because of her campaign for girls’ rights.
The speech at the UN headquarters in New York was her first public address since last October’s incident in Pakistan’s north-western Swat valley.
Malala has been credited with bringing the issue of women’s education to global attention. A quarter of young women around the world have not completed primary school.
The Pakistani teenager, who first came to public attention at the age of 11 for speaking out against a ban on girls’ education, was shot in the neck and head by Taliban gunmen last October on her way home from school in Pakistan.
She left a Birmingham hospital in February after she recovered from surgery during which doctors mended parts of her skull with a titanium plate and inserted a cochlear implant in her left ear to help restore hearing.
Malala used her speech at the UN to ask the UN secretary-general and any listening world leaders on the need to keep a promise to provide universal primary education by the end of 2015.
She also handed over a petition to Ban signed by about four million people calling on the 193 UN members to finance teachers, schools and books to meet the education.
“From the day that terrible shooting – assassination attempt – took place, Malala Yousafzai is a symbol for the rights of girls, and indeed the rights of all young people, to an education,” said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
Wearing a pink head scarf, Malala told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and nearly 1,000 students from around the world attending a Youth Assembly at UN headquarters in New York that education was the only way to improve lives.
“Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution,” she said.
“The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing changed in my life, except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”
The UN has declared her birthday, July 12, as “Malala Day”.
Source: BBC and ALJAZEERA
Taken from Nigeria info facebook page