Malala Yousafzai was shot for exercising her fundamental right to an education


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

1900 M Street, NW, Suite 500

Washington, DC 20036


Hon. Hillary Clinton

As you know, one month ago, 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman. Malala’s crime? She wanted to go to school and ran a campaign to help girls gain access to education. Malala Yousafzai was shot for exercising her fundamental right to an education. Malala remains hospitalized in England in serious condition; she continues to make real improvement.

Malala has been an activist for years – when she was 11, she worked as an anonymous blogger for the BBC to expose information about her Taliban-ruled area of Pakistan. Now, even as she recovers from being shot in the head, Malala says, “All I want is an education”. When the Taliban gunned down a teenage girl on a school bus, they sparked a global movement. This Saturday marks the first ‘Malala Day’!

The world is speaking for her. The tragic shooting last month—meant to prevent her from getting an education. Last Saturday, United Nations Special Envoy for Education, Gordon Brown, delivered a petition with a million signatures to President Zardari of Pakistan, encouraging the country to make education a priority.

She is reportedly beginning to walk and talk. Her family stays close, visiting her twice a day. “She wants me to tell everyone how grateful she is and is amazed that men, women, and children from across the world are interested in her well-being,” her father said in a statement on Thursday. “We deeply feel the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all caste, color, and creed.”

Malala’s father, also a long time champion for girls’ education, is a school principal, teacher, and poet. She defied the Taliban’s extremist interpretations of Islamic law. Her father encouraged his daughter’s efforts, refusing to bend to Taliban rule. ”You will never reach the top without the determination inspired by your goal.”  “All excellent things are as difficult as they are rare.” Girls’ education is under threat in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and around the world.

It’s time we all took a stand. In response to Malala’s extraordinary courage, people all over the world are calling for her to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Bonnie Lloyd, a professor of sociology in Rochester, New York, is asking two of the highest ranking women in the history of US government, Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice to nominate Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize.  I believe the time is right to focus on girls being denied the right to go to school, and honoring Malala’s bravery is a great way to do thatLet this be a lesson—that an education is a basic human right, a right that Pakistan’s daughters will
not be denied.

“The hopes and dreams of girls throughout the world are no longer hidden – yet there is much to do, as Malala’s wounds attest and her story has touched people around the world. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon and Gordon Brown, the UN’s special envoy for education, have announced that Saturday, November 10, was a Global Day of Action for Malala. Our global leaders will send a clear message: We stand with Malala and with girls everywhere in their fight for the right to equal opportunity through education.”

Yousafzai and her family say they will return to Pakistan, where the Taliban have vowed to kill both father and daughter. It is a very real threat. According to Human Rights Watch, 96 attacks have been carried out on schools in Pakistan this year alone.

The Women in the World are working to advance women’s and girls’ issues and galvanize support for women around the globe. The Alliance of South Asian American Labor aims to foster and promote a global network of women working together and we are delighted that you will also be working with us.


In Solidarity,

Mazeda A. Uddin


ASAAL National Women’s Coordinator

City of New York Mayor’s Office of Adult Education Teacher

Queens County Committee Member


_____________________________________________________________Empowerment through Education, Activism, and Participation

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