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Malala may be tiny but she is a mountain of courage

5 3 21

Malala. It’s a name that’s synonymous with courage.

There are many dates of great importance in Malala Yousafzai’s courage-packed 21 years of life.

She was born on July 12, 1997. On Oct. 9, 2012, this leading champion for girls’ education was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman.

Two years later almost to the day — on Oct. 10, 2014, when she was only 17 — Malala became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

But the only date Malala spoke about on Thursday to a sold-out room of mostly women at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre was Jan. 15, 2009.

That was the day “these guys carrying weapons calling themselves the Taliban” banned girls from going to school. Malala was just 11 years old. The Taliban also banned women and girls from working outside of the home and even from appearing in public without a male relative.

In the Swat Valley, that idyllic “Switzerland of the East” in northwest Pakistan, where Malala was born and lived, the Taliban burned down 400 schools.

“When I woke up that morning on the 15th of January 2009, 10 years ago, I couldn’t go to school anymore and for me, I realized that school wasn’t just a place of learning and reading and writing. It was a place of empowerment for girls. That’s when I realized that education was crucial for women and girls and that’s when I started to speak out.”

At the age of 11, she started to blog anonymously in........

© Calgary Herald