This documentary film is about Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani girl, education activist, and youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize nominee who survived an assassination attempt for her determined efforts to defend girls’ education in Pakistan, after the Taliban outlawed schools for girls in her native Swat Valley.
She was critically wounded but eventually flown to Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital for treatment by specialists in skull reconstruction.
Malala rose to international fame for chronicling the plight of children in a blog for the BBC under the penname Gul Makai, during the Taliban insurgency years.
Unfortunately, women in Pakistani society are oppressed, exploited, and discriminated in the name of so-called social practices. As a response to Malala’s bravery, girls across Pakistan and the world are standing up and saying, “I am Malala” – and this is our opportunity to show the same solidarity.
Out of 1,576 schools in Swat, the Taliban destroyed 401 of them between 2001 and 2009. 70% of the destroyed schools were girls’ schools. Militancy in the region has deprived 600,000 children from receiving an education with girls suffering the most. The literacy gap between girls and boys is appallingly.
Despite the advances in women’s rights around the world, violence against girls and women remains one of the most common human rights abuses. The assault on women’s right to education continues in many countries. Girls are less likely than boys to enter primary school. Harmful practices such as early marriage, gender-based violence, and discriminatory laws, prevent them from enrolling in or completing school.
Malala was attacked because she was a girl, and she was attacked not just because she wanted an education herself, but because she was campaigning for all girls to be able to fulfill their right to receive an education.
The Pakistani government’s record on education is also a matter of great concern. Less than 3% of GDP is spent on education – among the lowest in the world.
Many determined women in Pakistan have sacrificed their lives for these causes. Malala’s struggle highlights a devastating reality: Girls make up the majority of the world’s 61 million out-of-school children. Women represent two-thirds of the world’s 775 million illiterates.
Shot in scenic Swat valley, the film tells how Malala took a stand against Stone Age ideologues, who are attempting to take an entire nation of 200 million people backward in time.
In November 2011, Yousafzai was nominated for International Children’s Peace Prize by Dutch organisation KidsRights. The ‘Nobel For Malala’ petition started in Canada sparked a global phenomenon.