Connect the World

Malala: Inspiring girls globally, while an everyday girl at heart

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates CNN  — 

How would you try to balance traveling to give speeches and meeting world leaders, while simultaneously preparing for exams at the age of 19?

That’s exactly what Malala Yousafzai faces.

Known as the girl who was shot by the Taliban for speaking out against them, the Pakistani activist for female education and youngest Nobel Prize laureate has become a household name.

During a Facebook live interview with CNN in Sharjah, UAE, Yousafzai stressed the importance of the international community in standing up to injustice – referring to the dire situation in the Iraqi city of Mosul and the kidnapped Chibok girls of Nigeria.

“It is the Muslim people who are affected the most … So they need to unite and they need to join hands … along with other countries for peace.”

Connection with suffering children

Despite multiple efforts, Yousafzai has not been able to return to Pakistan, although it is her ultimate dream to continue her campaign there. “I’m hoping in the future, very soon I will go back … This is where I started and this is where I want to continue, to make sure every girl in Pakistan gets quality education.”

Malala’s journey from near death to the Nobel Peace Prize

She admits it’s a challenge to continue this balancing act of being a global campaigner and trying to be a regular high school student. But her motivation stems from knowing what it feels like to be banned from school and fighting extremism, she added.

This has contributed to her connection with children who are suffering in places such as Syria, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. “You should stand for what is right in your heart and you should not be silent,” she said.

Being encouraged by her father to stand up for women around the world, Yousafzai understands the importance of teaching boys the value of a woman in society. “If my father would not have allowed me or encouraged me to speak, I would not have been able to be here. So men’s role is crucial.”

She had a final thought on the upcoming US election – admitting that she would love to see Hillary Clinton as President of the United States. She said she hoped to see more women in power and in leadership roles across the world.