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Malala Yousafzai, teen hero
Meet the world’s youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
(Getty Images)
According to News24, Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai won international prominence after highlighting Taliban atrocities in the Swat valley with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants burned girls' schools terrorised the valley before the army intervened. Despite having to pursue her activism under the threat of death, Malala became the world’s youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize this week at the age of seventeen.

She was at school "like any normal teenager" when informed that she'd won the prestigious award, according to News24.

One small voice

At the age of eleven Malala captivated girls across north-western Pakistan with her struggle to speak out on behalf of those girls who were denied an education by Islamist militants. Her outspokenness provoked an attack on her by Taliban gunmen in 2012; they boarded a bus she was travelling on and shot her in the head. The Taliban later claimed responsibility for the attack and stated that they’d continue to hunt her down. Her father also received death threats.

The joint winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (60-year-old children’s rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi shared the honour) has received awards for her continued advocacy, although she has mainly used these to further increase awareness of her efforts in advocating for the rights of women and children.

In addition to the Nobel award, she has also won the International Children’s Peace Prize and been named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world (2013).

An accomplished public speaker, she’s an impressive figure when she has an audience. At an age when many teens are fumbling their way through English orals, Malala is addressing heads of state at various events, appealing for the support of the international community.

South Africa’s legacy of peace

Schools are often central to community projects; from cleaning up litter to helping to raise funds for local NGOs, SA scholars are also becoming society’s heroes. There are many volunteer programmes for teens to participate in, whether school or community-driven, and teens possess the energy, innovation and passion to make a change where many adults see only the depressing footprint of social injustice.

While Malala may only be one small voice of change, she has managed to alter her own political landscape with her voice. Perhaps your teen could be the catalyst for change in your local community…

Does your teen participate in community development initiatives?
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