2014-10-10 12:52:00

Malala of Pakistan and Satyarthi of India share Nobel Peace Prize

Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work for children's rights.  The Norwegian Nobel Committee cited the two ``for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.'' 17-year old Malala is the youngest ever winner of a Nobel Prize. A schoolgirl and education campaigner in Pakistan, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman two years ago.  Satyarthi, 60, has maintained the tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and headed various forms of peaceful protests, ``focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain,'' the Nobel committee said.  The Nobel Committee said it ``regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism.'' 

Malala was barely 11 years old when she began championing girls' education, speaking out in TV interviews. The Taliban had overrun her home town of Mingora, terrorizing residents, threatening to blow up girls' schools, ordering teachers and students to cover themselves in burqas.  She was critically injured on Oct. 9, 2012, when a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus and shot her in the head. She survived through luck _ the bullet did not enter her brain _ and by the quick intervention of British doctors who were visiting Pakistan.  Flown to Britain for specialist treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, she underwent numerous surgeries, but made a strong recovery.  Malala currently lives with her father, mother and two brothers in Birmingham, England, attending a local school. She has been showered with human rights prizes, including the European Parliament's Sakharov Award.

Satyarthi has been at the forefront of a global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labor since 1980 when he gave up a career as an electrical engineer and formed Bachpan Bachao Andoloan (BBA), or ‘save childhood campaign’ "to create a child friendly society, where all children are free from exploitation and receive free and quality education."  BBA aims "to identify, liberate, rehabilitate and educate children in servitude through direct intervention, child and community participation, coalition building, consumer action, promoting ethical trade practices and mass gaming."

The prize, worth about $1.1 million, will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the award in his 1895 will.

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