This young beacon of inspiration for the entire world celebrated her 16th birthday Friday addressing the United Nations in complete defiance of the Taliban who tried to kill her nine months ago.
Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head on her school bus in an assassination attempt by the Taliban to silence her on Oct. 9, 2012, received a standing ovation for her incredible speech about her continued fight for the rights of Pakistani girls and boys to attend school.
She urged world leaders to make education free and compulsory for the 57 million children banned from receiving an education.
Her recovery, her words to the world, her vision have made her a symbol of hope.
The terrorists thought that they would change my aims and stop my ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.
I am the same Malala. My ambitions are the same. My hopes are the same. And my dreams are the same.
We realized the importance of light when we see darkness. We realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.
The U.N. celebrated her life and her activism by naming Friday “Malala Day,” but the young woman said:
Malala Day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, of every boy and of every girl who have raised their voice for their rights. Let us speak up. Let us pick up our book and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons.
Watch the CBS News segment on this incredible young woman:
Malala Yousafzai’s full speech to the U.N. is a must-watch via BBC News: