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The bullet made Malala stronger than fear

By Emmanuelle Gilbert

On October 9, 2012, Malala Yousafzai was taking the bus home from school when it was suddenly stopped. Two men got on board and one of them opened fire. The 15-year-old girl was shot in the head.

But the bullet didn’t kill her - it made her stronger. Stronger than the fear, oppression and violence that assailed her.

Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan. She was a happy child from a loving family, living a normal life. But Malala knew she was one of the lucky ones who could go to school. So, at 11 years old, she began blogging for the BBC to promote and defend the right of every child to an education. When she accepted the BBC offer, Malala knew the risks: the Taliban could discover her identity at anytime and reprisals would follow.

But on that fateful October day, Malala paid a heavy price for her activism. Despite the odds, she survived the bullet and the threats against her life.

The story could have ended right there and we could call the ending a happy one. But it wasn’t the happy ending Malala had nearly given her life for. How could life go back to normal when children around the world were still being denied their right to an education?

Malala was stronger than the challenges and obstacles in front of her.

So Malala kept going. In the months that followed the shooting, Malala marked her sixteenth birthday by addressing a youth assembly at the United Nations and spoke on the importance of an education. She wrote a book telling her story; one containing a powerful message of hope and forgiveness, focusing on the importance of an education for all children – even her assailants’ children.

That a young girl found in herself the courage to stand up and speak out, knowing she was putting her life in danger for the greater good, is both astonishing and greatly inspiring.

And now, Malala is encouraging supporters like you to continue her work.

Share your story with the world via social media. What are you stonger than? Use the #strongerthan hashtag in your posts.

Together, we are stronger than we are alone.