Skip to main content

Malala's recovery crosses key threshold

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
January 4, 2013 -- Updated 2129 GMT (0529 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomes Malala Yousafzai's release
  • She will continue to receive treatment as an outpatient, the hospital says
  • The 15-year-old will probably undergo cranial reconstructive surgery in the next month
  • She was shot by Taliban gunmen for promoting education for girls

London (CNN) -- With the prospect of more surgery ahead and under the shadow of Taliban threats, courageous teen activist Malala Yousafzai was recovering at her temporary home Friday after being discharged from a British hospital.

In an attack that propelled her to global recognition, Malala was targeted in Pakistan by Taliban gunmen for speaking out in favor of education for Pakistani girls. She was left with life-threatening head and neck wounds.

Now, almost three months later, she's on the mend but far from fully recovered.

Doctors plan to perform cranial reconstructive surgery on her within the next month, replacing a shattered portion of skull with either her own bone or a titanium plate.

Malala thanks supporters
The history of the Pakistani Taliban
Minister: Malala is 'pride of Pakistan'
Malala's story

The hospital released a photo to the news media showing a half-smiling Malala waving to photographers wearing a tan, gray and black scarf.

Photos: Malala and the women of Pakistan

Video footage also showed her walking along a hospital corridor, her hand clasped in that of a nurse, waving goodbye to staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham -- her home for nearly three months.

The transformation from images released immediately after Malala was admitted on October 15 -- which showed her face bruised and a breathing tube in place -- is dramatic.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife welcomed her progress Friday, saying on Twitter: "Good news that Malala is well enough to leave hospital. We wish her well as her recovery continues with her family."

"Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery, said Dr. Dave Rosser, the medical director of the University Hospitals Birmingham who's overseen her care.

"Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers."

As she recovers with her family at a house in the West Midlands, Pakistan's consulate in Birmingham has hired Malala's father as an education attache.

Her parents and younger brothers, Khushal and Atul, traveled to England in the fall to be with her as she goes through the long rehabilitation process.

Ziauddin Yousafzai will function as head of the consulate's education section for three years, the Pakistani government said. His job could be extended for two additional years.

iReport: Your messages for Malala

Malala is a strong young woman.
Dr. Dave Rosser, University Hospitals Birmingham

The 15-year-old became an international symbol of courage after she was shot by Taliban gunmen last fall for her crusade about girls going to school.

She had blogged fearlessly about girls' education and accused the Taliban of thriving on ignorance. The Taliban forbid girls in the classroom and have threatened to kill anyone who defies them.

Pakistan's Malala: Global symbol, but still just a kid

Malala was in a school van in the area on October 9 when the gunmen stopped the vehicle and demanded that other girls tell them who was Malala. They identified her. Malala was then shot, as were two other girls who survived the attack with lesser injuries.

Malala was left in a critical condition, with her father later describing her survival as a miracle.

When he left Pakistan to join his daughter, Ziauddin Yousafzai told reporters he intended to return to his native country as soon as she had recovered. It is not clear whether his appointment will mean the entire family stays long term.

At the time of his daughter's shooting, he ran a school in Pakistan's conservative Swat Valley that kept its doors open to girls -- in defiance of the Taliban.

Watch: Who are the Pakistani Taliban?

The attack on Malala prompted outrage and wide outpourings of support, in Pakistan and overseas.

But even as anger about her shooting intensified, the Taliban issued a statement online saying that if Malala lived, they'd come after her again.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik promised government protection if the schoolgirl does return to Pakistan. Pakistani authorities are paying for her medical care in Britain.

Since her shooting, Malala has become an international figure. She was selected as runner-up for Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2012. CNN and Time are owned by Time Warner Inc.

Read more: Malala's journey from near death to recovery

CNN's Saskya Vandoorne contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 2238 GMT (0638 HKT)
The teen blogger simply wanted an education. But she became a symbol of defiance against militants, empowering young women worldwide.
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 1728 GMT (0128 HKT)
More than three million girls are out of school in Pakistan, while spending on education has decreased to 2.3 percent of GDP in 2010.
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 1720 GMT (0120 HKT)
According to UNESCO, regional neighbors fare better in getting a literate population than Pakistan.
October 18, 2013 -- Updated 1342 GMT (2142 HKT)
Malala's journey from Pakistan hospital to the United Nations, author and education rights activist.
January 28, 2013 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
Becky Anderson checks in on Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who has become a global symbol for girls' education.
October 9, 2013 -- Updated 2233 GMT (0633 HKT)
The Pakistani Taliban issues a new death threat against Malala, who turns the other cheek.
October 19, 2012 -- Updated 1744 GMT (0144 HKT)
Malala
Hundreds of messages from around the world were received by CNN for Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teen activist attacked by the Taliban.
January 30, 2013 -- Updated 1031 GMT (1831 HKT)
The University Hospital in Birmingham, UK show scans and 3D images of Malala's head wound.
November 10, 2012 -- Updated 1407 GMT (2207 HKT)
Pakistan has a new heroine and a new cause -- a girl's right to education. Now the government vows to get every child into school by end 2015.
ADVERTISEMENT