Seventeen-year-old Pakistani Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever to win the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.
The teenage advocate for education with a courageous and inspiring story to tell shares this year’s honor with Kailash Satyarthi, 70, who has campaigned against child trafficking and child labor in India.
This is a powerful step in the right direction not only to recognize two champions of children’s rights, but also two people, coming from what could be seen as opposing views. Malala, a Muslim Pakistani, and Satyarthi, an Indian Hindu, are an example of solidarity in a common struggle for education and extremism between conflicting nations.
Malala started promoting education for all in Pakistan as an 11-year-old school girl, garnering opposition from the Taliban. Two years ago, at 14, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman on her school bus, which gained her and the cause worldwide attention. Since then, she has becoming one of the leaders of girls’ rights to education, showing by example that children and youth can make a difference, despite their circumstances.
As we celebrate her award, we also remember that the struggle Malala and Satyarthi are fighting for is long from over. The right to education and freedom from trafficking is something that we will continue to fight. Be inspired by these leaders and look at your own life to see how you can make a difference.