LAHORE: A promising Khyber Pakhtunkhwa student who boldly stood up for girls education in face of threats from the Taliban has been awarded a runner-up prize by the Dutch organisation ‘KidsRights.’
Malala Yousafzai, a 13-year-old student of the Swat Valley, has earned herself ‘International Children’s Peace Prize’ instituted by the Dutch organisation.
Yousufzai was one of only five children chosen from a pool of 98 originally put forward by organisations and individuals from 42 different countries. She participated in Open Minds project initiated in Swat by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).
She used the lessons she had learned in the programme to write a series of articles for the BBC News Urdu website during her family’s displacement from the Swat valley in the summer of 2009. KidsRights said that Yousufzai was nominated for this award because her writing was focused on girls’ right to education, which were restricted by the Taliban in the Swat Valley.
Yousufzai dared to stand up for herself and other girls and used national and international media to let the world know that girls should also have the right to go to school.
‘Open Minds’ Pakistan was IWPR’s first youth-focused project. It provided journalism training to young people aged 10 to 19 in Pakistan, giving them opportunities to discuss, debate and publish reports on current affairs.
The project worked in as many as 42 schools in a mixture of seminaries, public and low fee charity schools and in rural and urban schools. The project’s three-stage training course broadened students’ horizons, introducing them to national and global issues.
In addition to the classroom training, internet access was provided to the participant schools, enabling students to interact via the project’s website.
The winner of International Children’s Peace Prize was 17-year-old Michaela Mycroft from South Africa.
Yousufzai is also the first Pakistani to be nominated for the prize.