Malala receives Nobel Peace Prize

Helen Ward

Malala Yousafzai, the education campaigner, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony in Norway today.

The 17-year-old is the youngest person ever to receive the honour, which marks her struggle for girls' access to education. She was jointly awarded the prize with Indian children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi.

They were both given gold medals and diplomas during the ceremony at Oslo city hall.

Malala gave a lecture at the ceremony, saying: "This award is not just for me. It is for those frightened children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change.

"I am here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice. It is not time to pity them. It is time to take action, so it becomes the last time that we see a child deprived of education."

She added: "I tell my story not because it is unique, but because it is not. It is the story of many girls."

Previous Nobel Peace Prize laureates include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Aung San Suu Kyi.

Malala, who was born and brought up in the Swat Valley of Pakistan, has been speaking out for the rights of girls since the age of 11, when she started writing an anonymous blog for the BBC about life under the Taliban.

She was 15 when she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who boarded a school bus and asked "Who is Malala?" Two of her friends were also injured in the attack. 

Her bloodstained school uniform from that day is now on display in Oslo as part of an exhibition about this year's prizewinners.

It was Malala's wish that the uniform was included in the exhibition. "My school uniform is very important for me...I was fighting for my right to go school and I was fighting for my right to get education and wearing a uniform made me feel, yes, I am a student."

After the attack, Malala was airlifted to Dubai and then to Birmingham, where she was treated for life-threatening injuries at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Unable to return to her homeland due to continued threats, she is now based in Birmingham.

She was in a chemistry class at Edgbaston High School for Girls in October when she learned she had won the prize – and decided to see out the rest of the school day before fronting a press conference.

The Nobel Prize committee said: "Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education, and has shown by example that children and young people, too, can contribute to improving their own situations. 

"This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls' rights to education."

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Malala wins Nobel Peace Prize – 10 Oct 2014 

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