Who is Malala?


Two champions of children have won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi were honored “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” (New York Times)

Use our resources to learn more about other Nobel Prize winners.

Teachers: Scroll all the way down for a short list of key resources in our “Teachers’ Toolkit.”

Discussion Ideas


  • Why did Malala win the Nobel Prize?
    • Malala is an outspoken supporter of human rights, focusing on the right of girls to attend schools.
    • She is the founder of the Malala Fund:
      • “We amplify the voices of the girls to keep them in the spotlight, inspire girls globally and drive action on girls’ issues by the global community.”
      • “We advocate at the international, national and local level for policy and system changes that give girls access to a high quality education at a community level.”
      • “We invest in community centered scalable solutions that provide quality education with potential for systems level change by empowering local leaders and educators.”



  • How did Malala gain the attention of the international community?
    • Malala was inspired by her father, Ziauddin. He is the owner of a school and outspoken education activist—as was his father before him. Malala and her father began speaking to local community groups about the rights and opportunities of Pakistani girls when Malala was in elementary school.
    • Malala has been a journalist and human rights advocate since she was 11 years old. She was a blogger for the BBC’s Urdu service during the Taliban’s growing influence in the region in 2008. Malala’s blogs and radio addresses exposed the restrictions and violent suppression of girls’ education in Swat: Girls’ schools were burned, girls were banned from schools, and students had to avoid gunfire in the ongoing “Battle of Swat” being waged between the Pakistani military and the TTP. Read translated excerpts from her “Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl” here.
    • The New York Times later made Malala the subject of a documentary. Watch “Class Dismissed” here.
    • In 2012, on her way to school, Malala was shot in the head by Taliban militants. This horrific incident drew international attention to the worsening situation in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially for women.


Listen to Ziauddin Yousafzai talk about “My Daughter, Malala”







Listen to Kailish Satyarthi respond to the Nobel honor.


  • Is Kailash the first Indian to win a Nobel Prize?
    • No. Many Indians and people with Indian ancestry have won Nobel Prizes, being honored in such fields as literature (Rabindranath Tagore), physics (Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar), and economics (Amartya Sen).
    • Mother Theresa, who was born in what is now Macedonia but lived in India during her adult life, was the only Indian previously honored with the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1979.
    • No, India’s most famous and influential peacebuilder, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, never won a Nobel Peace Prize. Read about the omission here.


  • How is Kailash promoting peace?
    • Kailash founded Goodweave—the first label verifying that textiles (particularly, rugs) bearing its mark were produced in South Asia without child labor. Read more about Goodweave here.
    • Kailash has worked with governments, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals to link child labor with poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, and labor rights.


  • Malala and Kailash never set out to win the Nobel Peace Prize. They began by seeking understanding and peaceful solutions with their families, schools, and communities. How do you promote peace in your home, community, or school? How can you expand your efforts?



New York Times: Two Champions of Children Are Given Nobel Peace Prize

NG Collection: Nobel Prizes and Nobel Prize winners

BBC: Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl

New York Times: Class Dismissed

TED: Ziauddin Yousafzai: My daughter, Malala

A World at School

2 thoughts on “Who is Malala?

  1. I swear I am going to quit bombarding you guys with blogs,articles, etc. but, thought this worthy enough to share with you two – would be great for SS- Malala received the 2014 Nobel peace prize. Kathy

    Sent from my iPad

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