In a speech at the Women in the World summit in New York yesterday, Angelina Jolie announced the start of the Malala foundation which will the support the education of 40 girls in Pakistan. Aged between five and twelve these girls would otherwise be forced into domestic labour.
In October last year 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck by Taliban gunmen whilst on a bus home from school in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. The Taliban’s reason for attacking her was because they said she was anti-Taliban, secular and that she would therefore not be spared. Malala came to the public’s attention several years prior to the shooting by writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under Taliban militants who were in control of the valley. After the shooting she was flown to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England where she underwent hours of major surgery.
“Here’s what the gunman and the Taliban accomplished on that day,” Jolie, who has donated $200,000 to the fund, said in her speech in New York. “They shot her at point-blank range in the head – and made her stronger. The brutal attempt to silence her voice made it stronger.”
Malala is currently attending school in Edgbaston, Birmingham. A video of her speech about the fund was played to the summit audience: “Today I’m going to announce the happiest moment of my life,” she said, “Let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls.”