Handout / Reuters
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai reads a book as she recuperates at the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
For Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for her activism, thousands of well-wishers have helped her heal.
“She wants me to tell everyone how grateful she is and is amazed that men, women and children from across the world are interested in her well-being,” her father, Ziauddin Yousufzai, said in a statement released by Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in the U.K. Malala is being treated by team that includes staff from Queen Elizabeth and Birmingham Children’s hospitals.
“We deeply feel the heart-touching good wishes of the people across the world of all cast, color and creed. They have helped my daughter survive and stay strong,” he said.
Malala has received money “for sweets,” CDs, school books, clothing and jewellery, according to the hospital’s statement.
She has also been flooded with thousands letters and messages, including one from a 6-year-old who wrote, “I have heard about you being hurt by baddies. I think you are very brave and I am sad that you are not allowed to go to school and I don’t think it’s fair. I think girls should go to school because otherwise they would be stupid and would not know anything and it’s fun to learn things.”
Wrote another: “You have inspired me to have fun and do well at school because, like you said, not all girls get to go to school. I hope your dreams come true.”
One month ago, on Oct. 9, a Taliban gunman shot Malala in the neck for her outspoken belief that girls should receive an education. That activism started in 2008, when she was about 11 years old. In 2009, she was approached to write a blog for the BBC about her life under Taliban rule. She wrote under a pseudonym.
“I was afraid of going to school because the Taleban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools. Only 11 students attended the class out of 27.
“On my way home from school I heard a man saying, ‘I will kill you.’ I hastened my pace and after a while I looked back if the man was still coming behind me. But to my utter relief, he was talking on his mobile and must have been threatening someone else over the phone.”
Malala later gave television interviews and went on to win Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize.
For a week after being shot, Malala remained in Pakistan. On Oct. 15, stabilized, she was flown to the U.K. for further treatment.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the United Special Envoy for global education, has dubbed Saturday, Nov. 10, “Malala Day” in Britain and he will deliver a petition with 1 million signatures to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, urging him to improve access to education for both girls and boys.
(Messages or donations may be left for Malala here.)
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