As told by Malala Yousafzai on the WE Day UK stage, 2014
I think you may know me as the girl who was shot by the Taliban, who got a head injury, but I would like to share my story with you—who I am, where do I come from, how was my life before this incident.
Economically, I was born in a poor family. But ethically, it was rich.
My father was—and he is—a great father. He gave me, he accepted me, with equal rights. He treated me and my brothers with equality.
I was considered to be a good girl because I was working hard in my studies, getting first position in the class.
But I also did some mistakes in my life. Sometimes I was a bit naughty—and I still am—sometimes I would just fight with my brother, which I am continuing. But I also did another mistake. Once I lied. I could not tell the truth. I also stole my friend’s jewelry. I was very young at the time.
But the fact is that once I did these mistakes, I learned from them. And I never, never repeated them.
I just want to tell you that we have some weaknesses. We all are not perfect. You are expecting me to be very tall, but I’m not. I know we all have some weaknesses, but it does not mean that we do not deserve to be special.
We all are special. We have some talent.
I would like to give you some advice from my side. Never lose your hope. And also …
There is courage and there is fear.
I sometimes get scared … of ghosts, of dragons, of skeletons. But the fact is that your courage should be more than your fear.
In Swat (Valley), we face terrorism. And at that time, I realized that education was something very important. More than 400 schools … more than 400 schools were blasted at that time. Women were not allowed to go to market. Girls’ education was banned.
CD shops were blasted. Schools were blasted.
At that time, we were living in terrorism. And we had two options at that time. One was not to speak and die. The second was to speak and then die. And I chose the second one.
We spoke at that time, we raised our voices. I wrote a diary for BBC. I also appeared in New York Times documentaries. I also wrote a few articles, spoke to media channels.
I did not know that outside Swat, the world was listening to our words.
And soon I discovered that the powerful tool, the powerful weapon you have is your voice.
I faced this incident in my life as well. On the ninth of October, I was shot by the Taliban.
But on that day, the little bit fear that I had died. And courage and strength and power was born.
And I got courage because of two reasons:
The first was that I realized that even death is supporting me in my cause of education.
And the second reason that I found more courage was your love, your prayers, and your support.
I believe in one thing, and that is we should live as a family.
This is a very small world—a very small world. We should live as a family.
We should think about each other. We should not ignore the children who are suffering from terrorism in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, and in Syria. We should not ignore them.
If we want our bright future, then we should think about these children.
And also, we need some small, little things. When I say these words, these words will appear very common: We should be kind to each other. We should be friendly to each other. We should love each other.
In my opinion, this is a very short life. A very short life. We can hardly live up to 80, 90 years. In this short life, why do we hate each other?
Why don’t we love each other? Because the fact is that let’s enjoy this life.
Let’s enjoy it. And the best thing to enjoy life is to live as a group, is to live as a community because as an individual you can’t survive
I also believe we have been sent to this earth with diversity. It is what – we should keep it in mind—we should not have prejudice or discrimination in our society because of the colour, or gender, or religion. We should love each other. We should accept each other’s views, and we should respect it.
My dream. My dream is to work for education, to see every child going to school, getting quality education.
And I dream for a bright future, for a better world.