Photo credit: Pete Souza / AFP/Getty Images
Today, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, turned 20 years old. On her 18th birthday, Malala opened a school for Syrian refugee girls, on her 19th, she visited Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp (the world's largest), and today, on her 20th, Malala is on her world-wide Girl Power Trip advocating for girls' education. To celebrate her special day, another strong advocate for girls' education wrote an inspiring message - our "Forever First Lady" Michelle Obama. Read what Mrs. Obama penned below:
"Twenty years ago today, in a part of Pakistan where women and girls are so often silenced, a girl was born who would one day use her voice to change the world.
Her name is Malala Yousafzai, and she is one of my heroes.
Despite threats from Taliban terrorists who banned girls in her community from attending school, Malala’s father, a teacher, believed that his daughter should get an education. And Malala bravely spoke out about the dangers she faced, writing a blog about her fears that the Taliban would attack her school.
The Taliban sought to retaliate, and in October of 2012, as Malala and her friends were traveling home from school, a gunman stormed their school bus and shot her in the head.
Thankfully, Malala survived, and she refused to be silenced. In the years since, she has traveled the globe, fighting for girls’ education, and she won a Nobel Peace Prize for her extraordinary efforts. She did all of this before even finishing high school — in fact, she graduated just last week!
There are young people like Malala in every corner of the globe who are determined to get an education worthy of their promise. In the new chapter of our lives, Barack and I are committed to doing whatever we can to support these young leaders.
I hope you’ll join me in wishing Malala a happy birthday and in working to ensure that every girl has the chance to fulfill her boundless potential." - Michelle Obama
Mrs. Obama sent Malala more birthday wishes on Twitter.
Happy Birthday, Malala! Your bravery, resilient spirit and courageous activism is an inspiration to us all.