Monday, October 14, 2013

Malala's Light

When the news first broke a year ago that 14-year old Malala Yousafzai had been shot in the head by the Taliban while sitting in a school bus all I could imagine was the extreme fear and chaos of that terrifying moment.

How could someone be so afraid of a child on her way to school?

Just by going to school, Malala defied the Taliban and its oppressive measures directed towards women by supporting education for girls in her small village in Pakistan's Swat Valley.  That simple act made her a target.  Given the extreme nature of her injuries last October, I hoped she would somehow survive her attack.  I read all of the stories about her being transported to a hospital in London for treatment and how her family followed her to Great Britain to watch over her.

Malala has more than survived.  She is now providing the light of leadership and inspiration to people around the world who may feel there is no hope and feel lost because they think it doesn't matter what they do.  They think that one person cannot make a difference.  She is proof that one person, no matter what their age, can have tenacity of spirit to follow their passions and despite the odds, affect change.

Malala Yousafzai & President Obama Meet at the White House
Photo Courtesy of the White House
Malala is the essence of courage.  Her honesty and steadfast truth telling is shining a light in some of the darkest and most forgotten places on Earth.  She was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and came to the United States to meet with President Obama and speak at the World Bank.

Unfortunately, she didn't win the Nobel Peace Peace but instead she has won the love of millions of people who have never met her.  I don't know where Malala Yousafzai has found the courage and sheer guts at such a young age to speak out and fight for her right to go to school and be educated but she is one fierce young woman.

And fierce we all must be as we battle the stresses and burdens that life presents to us.

Let's forge ahead and work for positive change in our lives too.  Whether it's processing the loss of a loved one or dealing with challenges of a different sort in our lives, please read this short story from Marie Claire magazine featuring Malala's most inspirational quotes and may the light of her determination energize you:

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