The father of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education, has been named a UN special advisor on global education, UN envoy Gordon Brown said on Monday.
Brown added that the 15-year-old schoolgirl, who is recovering in a British hospital after being brutally attacked on her school bus on October 9, will herself join the campaign when she is better.
Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father, is a former teacher and headmaster and has been appointed to help in what Brown has dubbed a new “Malala Plan” to get all girls into school around the world by the end of 2015.
Brown is also pushing for Malala’s birthday, July 12th, to be designated a day of action each year when children around the world are invited to march, demonstrate, petition and pray for education to be delivered worldwide.
“Before she was shot, Malala was advocating the cause of girls’ education faced by a Taliban that had closed down and destroyed 600 schools,” said the former British prime minister, now UN special envoy for global education.
“If the Taliban sought to vanquish her voice once and for all, they failed.
“For today her voice and her insistent dream that children should go to school echoes all around the world, as girl after girl, each wanting all girls to have the right to go to school, identifies with Malala.”
Brown added: “In time Malala herself is determined to join the campaign for every girl’s right to education and when she has recovered she will do so, becoming one of the leaders of that campaign.”
In an attack that shocked the world, Malala was shot in the head as punishment for the “crime” of campaigning for girls’ rights to go to school.
She survived the murder attempt but requires reconstructive surgery after the bullet grazed her brain, coming within centimetres of killing her.
Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday visited Malala at the specialist Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, central England, and met with members of her family.