Why Malala's Uniform Is Still So Important

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Photos by Lynsey Addario/Getty Images News

Text by Ye Charlotte Ming 

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai was on her way home from school in October 2012, when Taliban gunmen boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. 

The young activist was targeted because of her campaign for girls’ rights to education, and her authoring (under a pseudonym) blog posts for the BBC focusing on the Taliban-controlled Swat valley of Pakistan, where she grew up. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, is also an outspoken activist and ran several schools in the region.


Malala was transferred to Britain for treatment after the incident. Unable to return to Pakistan, she stayed in Britain to finish high school, where she took a more public stance in continuing her advocacy for girls' education. 

But her harrowing encounter with the Taliban that nearly cost her life never escaped her. Her family saved the blood-stained uniform she wore on the day she was shot. In 2014, the clothing went on display as part of an exhibit at the Nobel Peace Center, the same year she became the youngest Nobel laureate. Seeing her bloodied garments in the exhibit, Malala burst into tears


The teenage activist authorized the display of the uniform and believed it to be an important symbol for children's rights to education. “It is an important part of my life. Now I want to show it to children, to people all around the world,” Malala said in an interview with the Nobel Peace Center.  “This is my right, it is the right of every child, to go to school. This should not be neglected.” 

see malala's story in pictures 

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Education activist Malala Yousafzai was 15 when the Taliban attempted to assassinate her on October 9, 2012. See the life story of U.N.'s youngest messenger of peace