The courage of a teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban for campaigning for girls rights and education has been recognised by the Tipperary Peace Convention.
Malala Yousafzai travelled to Tipperary town last week to accept the 2012 Peace Award and in a powerful address to invited guests spoke of her horrific ordeal and her determination to continue to speak out for the rights of children all over the world.
“People know me as the girl shot by the Taliban. I don’t want to be known as the girl shot by the Taliban, I want to be known as the girl who fought for the rights of every child, girl or boy for education and equality” said Malala.
Because she campaigned for the rights of girls to go to school, Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus last October. They called out her name and attempted to assassinate her shooting her in the head in front of her friends.
At the prize giving ceremony at Ballykisteen Hotel, Malala appealed to governments all over the world to change their laws that discriminate against women and children.
She said she would like to return to the Swat Valley in her native country and would continue her work to ensure that children and young girls all over the world should be given proper education.
Malala, while eleven years old, had been secretly writing a blog for the BBC, which described the struggles faced by girls trying to receive an education under the Taliban.
Martin Quinn, Peace Convention Secretary, said Malala became a global symbol of hope for millions of girls all over the world.
“To celebrate her sixteenth birthday Malala found her voice and told the UN delegates to use education as a weapon against extremism. One book, one teacher, one pen can change the world, she told world leaders,” said Mr Quinn.