Malala Yousafzai is known for promoting education as a basic right, especially education for women and children.

The 21-year-old Pakistani activist became world famous after she was shot in the head by a Taliban militant.

At the time, the Taliban was fighting for control of her hometown in northwest Pakistan. She was attacked for expressing support for the education of girls.

Malala Yousafzai has won awards for her human rights work. In 2014, at the age of 17, she was the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She shared the 2014 peace prize with a child rights campaigner from India.

Yousafzai has written books and many books have been written about her.

“Malala was recovering from a serious injury. It was a miracle she could stand up at all. But she stood up in front of the whole world to prove that words have power.”

“Malala was a very good speaker, much like her father. People listened to him and it seemed like people wanted to listen to Malala, too. Her first speech was publicized across Pakistan with the title, ‘How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education.’

Her life changed forever in 2012, when she was 15 years old. On a ride home from school, a Taliban gunman got on her bus. He shot Malala and two of her friends.  She was taken to a hospital in Birmingham, England, where wounded soldiers were treated. There, she recovered with no lasting injury to her brain.

Author Jenni L. Walsh continues the story.

“Malala wondered out loud: ‘How can they stop more than 50,000 girls from going to school in the 21st century?’”

Today, Malala Yousafzai is studying philosophy, politics and economics at the University of Oxford. And, she says she fights every day so that all girls receive 12 years of free, safe and quality education.

Exercise 1


Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.


promote (v.) /prəˈmoʊt/ - to help (something) happen, develop, or increase

  • The school distributed pamphlets promoting good dental hygiene.


miracle (n.) /ˈmirɪkəl/ - an unusual or wonderful event that is believed to be caused by the power of God

  • She believed that God had given her the power to work/perform miracles.


Exercise 2


Answer these questions about the article.


  1. Who is Malala Yousafzai?
  2. What did she do?
  3. Did her family support her?
  4. What is she doing right now?



Exercise 3

Make a sentence.

Make sentences using these words.

miracle, promote, study


Exercise 4


Have a discussion on following questions.


  1. What do you think of Malala´s story?
  2. Do girls have the same right for education as boys?
  3. Should women get the same pay as men for the same job?
  4. Are there any women and men specific jobs that you can name?




This lesson is based on a news article originally published by VOA Learning English.