Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi win Nobel Peace Prize


by Rachel Ireland, contributor

The Gown takes a look at the winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize

Seventeen-year-old girls’ rights activist Malala Yousafzai and children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace prize earlier this month. Malala and Kailash received the prize “for their struggle against the oppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”

Kailash Satyarthi has been campaigning for children’s rights for a number of years. Born in India in 1954, he left his job as an electrical engineer in 1980 and became Secretary General of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan (English equivalent Save the Children) movement, which has been credited with saving over thousands of children from slavery and continues to help children all over India. Satyarthi’s main concerns are children’s education and stopping child labour. In 2001 he set up “Child Friendly Villages” that continue to educate and rehabilitate children in New Delhi.

Satyarthi and his team have also, unfortunately, been victims of attacks because of the work they do. This happened most recently in 2011 when he and a team of colleagues were rescuing child slaves from a sweatshop. Despite these attacks and others on his office, Satyarthi continues to stand up for the rights of children, with the hope of one day achieving “education for all”. He now lives in New Delhi with his wife and family. He continues to fight for children’s education rights.

Malala Yousafzai first came into the spotlight in 2009 when she started writing an anonymous diary blog for BBC Urdu. In this diary blog she outlined her fears about the Taliban and also the lack of education for girls in her country.

Yet it was not until 2012, when she was famously shot in the head by a member of the Taliban, that Malala came into the spotlight outside of her native Pakistan and effectively became the face and voice of girls’ rights in Pakistan. Since then Malala has successfully recovered from reconstructive surgery on her left ear and skull. After writing a successful autobiography last year she was named one of TIME Magazine’s most influential people.

Malala and her family now live in Birmingham, where Malala can attend school away from the immediate danger of Pakistan and the Taliban. Although she lives in the UK now, Malala continues to take her campaign to new global heights.

This is not the first accolade for either recipient, both have received awards from across the globe and, hopefully, this will not be their last either.

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