photo of Malala YousafzaiPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Quotes by Malala Yousafzai

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Malala Yousafzai. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

Wikipedia Summary for Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai (Pashto pronunciation: [məˈlaːlə jusəf ˈzəj]; born 12 July 1997), often referred to mononymously as Malala, is a Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy, especially the education of women and children in her native Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northwest Pakistan, where the local Pakistani Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school. Her advocacy has grown into an international movement, and according to former Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, she has become "the most prominent citizen" of the country.

The daughter of educational activist Ziauddin, Yousafzai was born to a Pashtun family in Mingora, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Her family came to run a chain of schools in the region. Considering Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Benazir Bhutto as her role models, she was particularly inspired by her father's thoughts and humanitarian work. In early 2009, when she was 11–12, she wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC Urdu detailing her life during the Pakistani Taliban occupation of Swat. The following summer, journalist Adam B. Ellick made a New York Times documentary about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region. She rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by activist Desmond Tutu.

On 9 October 2012, while on a bus in the Swat District, after taking an exam, Yousafzai and two other girls were shot by a Pakistani Taliban gunman in an assassination attempt in retaliation for her activism; the gunman fled the scene. Yousafzai was hit in the head with a bullet and remained unconscious and in critical condition at the Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology, but her condition later improved enough for her to be transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK. The attempt on her life sparked an international outpouring of support for Yousafzai. Deutsche Welle reported in January 2013 that Yousafzai may have become "the most famous teenager in the world". Weeks after the attempted murder, a group of fifty leading Muslim clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her. The Pakistani Taliban were internationally denounced by governments, human rights organizations and feminist groups. Pakistani Taliban officials responded to condemnation by further denouncing Yousafzai, indicating plans for a possible second assassination attempt, which was justified as a religious obligation. Their statements resulted in further international condemnation.

Following her recovery, Yousafzai became a prominent activist for the right to education. Based in Birmingham, she co-founded the Malala Fund with Shiza Shahid, anon-profit organisation working to ensure that girls worldwide have access to 12 years of free and safe education. In 2013, she co-authored I Am Malala, an international best seller. In 2012, she was the recipient of Pakistan's first National Youth Peace Prize and the 2013 Sakharov Prize. In 2014, she was the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, along with Kailash Satyarthi of India. Aged 17 at the time, she was the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. In 2015, Yousafzai was a subject of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary He Named Me Malala. The 2013, 2014 and 2015, issues of Time magazine featured her as one of the most influential people globally. In 2017, she was awarded honorary Canadian citizenship and became the youngest person to address the House of Commons of Canada.

Yousafzai completed her secondary school education at Edgbaston High School, Birmingham in England from 2013 to 2017. From there she won a place at Oxford University and undertook three years of study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), as an undergraduate at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford a college of the university. She graduated in 2020.


You cannot rely on other people's support.



I raise up my voice--not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. … We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.



This is what my soul is telling me: Be peaceful and love everyone.



A talib fires three shots at point-blank range at three girls in a van and doesn't kill any of them. This seems an unlikely story.



I like writers who can show me worlds I know nothing about, but my favorites are those who create characters or worlds which feel realistic and familiar to me, or who can make me feel inspired.



I will only miss school for an engagement if it is going to bring real change.



Any talk of me engaging in a conspiracy against Pakistan is completely baseless.



Dear sisters and brothers, I am not against anyone.



How typical,' he said. 'First the people of Swat fall under the spell of the Taliban, then they are killed by the Taliban, and now they are blamed for the Taliban!



We are human beings, and this is the part of our human nature, that we don't learn the importance of anything until it's snatched from our hands.



I remembered a tapa my grandmother used to recite: 'No Pashtun leaves his land of his own sweet will, Either he leaves from poverty or he leaves for love.



If people volunteered in the same way to construct schools or roads or even clear the river of plastic wrappers, by God, Pakistan would become a paradise within a year.



But God has also given us the power to forget, so that when the tragedy is over we carry on as normal.





Fifty seven million children across the world don't want an iPhone, Xbox or chocolates. They want a book and pen.



It's an honor to be awarded the Liberty Medal.



I enjoy science, and I'm a very curious person. I always want to know the reason behind everything, big or small.



I think that the best way to solve problems and to fight against war is through dialogue. For me the best way to fight against terrorism and extremism... just a simple thing: educate the next generation.



I think life is always dangerous. Some people get afraid of it. Some people don't go forward. But some people, if they want to achieve their goal, they have to go. They have to move.



Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy but giving books is so hard?



We liked to be known as the clever girls. When we decorated our hands with henna for holidays and weddings, we drew calculus and chemical formulae instead of flowers and butterflies.



I speak not for myself, but so those without a voice can be heard. Those who have fought for their rights. Their right to live in peace. Their right to be treated with dignity. Their right to equality of opportunity. Their right to be educated.



I don't want awards, I want my daughter. I wouldn't exchange a single eyelash of my daughter for the whole world.



Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself.

Longer Version:

Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead, he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself... By giving me this height to reach people, he has also given me great responsibilities.



Every girl deserves to take part in creating the technology that will change our world and change who runs it.



I want every girl, every child, to be educated.



It is not time to tell the leaders to realize how important education is -- they already know it -- their own children are in good schools. Now it is time to call them to take action.



She explained that the bullet had entered through the side of my left eye where there was a scar, traveled eighteen inches down to my left shoulder and stopped there. It could have taken out my eye or gone into my brain. It was a miracle I was alive.



Yet my father remained hopeful and believed there would be a day when there was an end to the destruction. What really depressed him was the looting of the destroyed schools -- the furniture, the books, the computers, were all stolen by local people. He cried when he heard this.



Malala Day is not my day. It is the day of every girl and every boy. It is a day when we come together to raise our voices, so that those without a voice can be heard.



I said to myself, Malala, you must be brave. You must not be afraid of anyone. You are only trying to get an education. You are not committing a crime.



Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country -- this is my dream. Education for every boy and every girl in the world. To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish.



It gives a message to people of love... it does not matter what's the colour of your skin, what language do you speak, what religion do you believe in. It is that we should all consider each other as human beings and we should respect each other.



We cannot succeed when half of us are held back. We call upon our sisters around the world to be brave, to embrace the strength within themselves and realize their full potential.



This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa.



I am not against anyone. Neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I am here to speak for the right of education for every child. I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists and extremists.



I had two options. One was to remain silent and wait to be killed. And the second was to speak up and then be killed. I chose the second one. I decided to speak up.



Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.



I would tell him that shoot me but first listen to me. And I would tell him that education is my right and education is the right of your daughter and son a well. And I'm speaking up for them. I'm speaking up for peace.



We Pashtuns love shoes but don't love the cobbler; we love our scarves and blankets but do not respect the weaver. Manual workers made a great contribution to our society but received no recognition, and this is the reason so many of them joined the Taliban--to finally achieve status and power.



The boys learn the Quran by heart, rocking back and forth as they recite. They learn that there is no such thing as science or literature, that dinosaurs never existed and man never went to the moon.



I think it's time that people update themselves, educate themselves, and inform themselves.







We call upon all communities to be tolerant, to reject prejudice based on caste, creed, sect, colour, religion or agenda to ensure freedom and equality for women so they can flourish. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.



When someone takes away your pens you realise quite how important education is.





We are starving for education... it's like a precious gift. It's like a diamond.



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



And if we want to achieve our goal, then let us empower ourselves with the weapon of knowledge and let us shield ourselves with unity and togetherness.



Our men think earning money and ordering around others is where power lies. They don't think power is in the hands of the woman who takes care of everyone all day long, and gives birth to their children.



Someone said I had smiled. But to my father, it was not a smile, just a small beautiful moment because he had not lost me forever.



Let us become the first generation to decide to be the last that sees empty classrooms, lost childhoods and wasted potential.



Why is it, that giving guns is so easy, but giving books is so hard?



Ignorance allowed politicians to fool people and bad administrators to be re-elected.



Books are a better investment in our future than bullets. Books, not bullets, will pave the path towards peace and prosperity.



There is no greater weapon than knowledge and no greater source of knowledge than the written word.



I don't mind if I have to sit on the floor at school. All I want is education. And I'm afraid of no one.



My dream is to empower myself with education, and then it is a weapon.



The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.



We felt like the Taliban saw us as little dolls to control, telling us what to do and how to dress. I thought if God wanted us to be like that He wouldn't have made us all different.



They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed.

Longer Version:

They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices. The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions. But nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.



Education is the power terrorists fear most.



The content of a book holds the power of education and it is with this power that we can shape our future and change lives.



You should believe in your talent and potential. Never lose hope.



Let us pick up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapon.

Longer Version:

Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.



A city without books, a city without a library is like a graveyard.



I thought that words and books and pens were more powerful than guns.



We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.



I truly believe the only way we can create global peace is through not only educating our minds, but our hearts and our souls.



I believe in the power of the voice of women.





No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.



To sit down on a chair and read my books with all my friends at school is my right. To see each and every human being with a smile of happiness is my wish. I am Malala. My world has changed but I have not.



We like to put sacred texts in flowing waters, so I rolled it up, tied it to a piece of wood, placed a dandelion on top, and floated it in the stream which flows into the Swat River. Surely God would find it there.



One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.



With guns you can kill terrorists, with education you can kill terrorism.



To every child -- I dream of a world where you can laugh, dance, sing, learn, live in peace and be happy.



When I was young I used to listen to other people and to try and understand what they thought and where they were coming from. I listened and didn't speak.



Even we schoolchildren know that ordinary diplomats don't drive around in unmarked cars carrying Glock pistols.



I want to serve the people.



Education is neither eastern nor western.



I want poverty to end in tomorrow's Pakistan. I want every girl in Pakistan to go to school.



Books can capture injustices in a way that stays with you and makes you want to do something about them. That's why they are so powerful.



If you don't focus on the future generation, it means you are destroying your country.



What I get a bit angry about is the image of women.



A doctor can only treat patients. A doctor can only help the people who are shot or who are injured. But a politician can stop people from injuries. A politician can take a step so that no person is scared tomorrow.



I hope that one day when I'll go back to Pakistan, I will build a university like Harvard.



I was excited when King's College announced a scholarship for students who are in developing countries.



I realized that becoming a doctor, I can only help a small community. But by becoming a politician, I can help my whole country.



Pakistanis can't trust. They've seen in history that people, particularly politicians, are corrupt. And they're misguided by people in the name of Islam. They're told: 'Malala is not a Muslim, she's not in purdah, she's working for America.'



It's quite difficult for a parent to know that their daughter is in great danger.



Outside of my home, I look like a very obedient, very serious, very good kind of girl, but nobody knows what happens inside the house.



I don't have a phone, but I do have an iPad.



For my brothers it was easy to think about the future. They can be anything they want. But for me it was hard and for that reason I wanted to become educated and empower myself with knowledge.



The important thing to note is that it is not important whether Malala was shot or not -- Malala is not asking for personal favors or support. She is asking for support with girls' education and women's rights. So don't support Malala, support her campaign for girls' education and women's rights.



If you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with cruelty and that much harshly, you must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education.



Nelson Mandela is physically separated from us, but his soul and spirit will never die. He belongs to the whole world because he is an icon of equality, freedom and love, the values we need all the time everywhere.



Benazir Bhutto was an inspirational leader and an inspirational woman.



Girls are going to school again in Swat Valley. And that is great.



I was a girl in a land where rifles are fired in celebration of a son, while daughters are hidden away behind a curtain, their role in life simply to prepare food and give birth to children.



In Kenya, I met wonderful girls; girls who wanted to help their communities. I was with them in their school, listening to their dreams. They still have hope. They want to be doctor and teachers and engineers.



I think I have a right to live my life the way I like.



We must tell girls their voices are important.



If you kill someone, it shows that you are afraid of that person.



And also I didn't want my future to be just sitting in a room and be imprisoned in my four walls and just cooking and giving birth to children. I didn't want to see my life in that way.



All I want is an education, and I am afraid of no one.



At night when I used to sleep, I was thinking all the time that shall I put a knife under my pillow.



Some girls cannot go to school because of the child labor and child trafficking.



Islam tells us every girl and boy should be educated. I don't know why the Taliban have forgotten it.



I have already seen death, and I know that death is supporting me in my cause of education. Death does not want to kill me.





Terrorism will spill over if you don't speak up.



In many parts of the world, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism, war and conflict stop children to go to their schools. We are really tired of these wars. Women and children are suffering.



It is true that when there's a drone attack, those -- that the -- the terrorists are killed, it's true. But 500 and 5,000 more people rises against it, and more terrorism occurs, and more -- more bomb blasts occurs.



I believe the gun has no power at all.

Longer Version:

I believe the gun has no power because a gun can only kill, but a pen can give life.



Honor your daughters. They are honorable.



It's good to fight with your brothers, and it's good to tease them to give them advice.



We women are going to bring change. We are speaking up for girls' rights, but we must not behave like men, like they have done in the past.



Some people only ask others to do something. I believe that, why should I wait for someone else? Why don't I take a step and move forward.


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