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100 People, 100 Places: Being a Girl

This week Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize, which she shared with Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian children’s rights activist. Malala catapulted to global fame after being shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan two years ago, the result of campaigning for a female education.

She is a remarkable young woman, and what she shares with many girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan is a desire for equality and education. She is very like Hasina, the main character in the chapter A Girl with no Borders in Dispatches.

Malala is Pakistani, Hasina is an Afghan who grew up in Pakistan, displaced by the war in Afghanistan.  Both are passionate about ensuring girls have access to schools and the opportunity to learn and have opportunities for a better future.

When Hasina returned to Afghanistan with her parents as an adolescent under the Taliban, she taught girls whatever she had learned.  Hasina, 25, and Malala, 17, share a passion for activism, for making things better for girls and ultimately their countries.

Malala’s bravery and articulateness focused the world’s attention on this fundamental right. What Hasina shows is that there are Malalas all over Pakistan and Afghanistan also helping to bring change.


100 People, 100 Places are a series of short dispatches to complement my latest book, Dispatches from the Kabul Café (Advance Editions, 2014)