International Children's Peace Prize 2013
SPEECH BY MALALA YOUSAFZAI
Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentleman, dear guests, friends, it is such an honour for me to be here today to accept this year's International Children's Peace Prize.
This prize means a lot to me. When I was nominated in 2011 with four other nominees, I got international recognition. And to be honest, that nomination triggered my national and global campaign for education.
I was delighted this morning to have been able to meet Chaeli - who won the prize in 2011 - and who has done so much wonderful work to help and support children with disabilities in South Africa.
Meeting Chaeli, and looking through the list of previous winners, it is humbling for me to be the recipient of this year's award.
I'd also very much like to thank Tawakkol Karman for being here today too. She has done so much to promote the cause of freedom and opportunity in Yemen and beyond, and it is kind of her to have taken the time to come for this ceremony.
In awarding me this year's Children's Peace prize, if people feel that I have been able to help promote the cause of peace and education in the world - in whatever small way - then I am blessed. Nothing is more important to me than the cause of education.
So I'd like to accept the award on behalf of all of the children in the world who are trying to go to school, and all of those parents who are overcoming fear and intimidation - or cultural opposition - to give their sons and daughters the chance of an education. It is their courage, it is their bravery, it is their persistence which will ultimately ensure that all children in the world have the chance to go to school.
Today, in 2013, children all around the world - particularly girls - face of prejudice and fear every day in their quest to be educated. Families are intimidated and threatened. Girls are confronted with violence - or directly suffer violence - on a daily basis. Sadly - tragically - many are killed or maimed.
And what for? Why do they suffer this terror and persecution?
For the innocent act of trying to go to school;
For their desire to learn;
Because of a simple quest to be educated.
For children here in the Netherlands, or in the UK where I go to school now, or anywhere in Europe or America education is something which is taken for granted - which is an entirely normal and expected part of growing up. That is exactly as it should be. I want to live in a world where education is taken for granted in every corner of the globe because no-one is excluded from it.
In my home country of Pakistan, the Taliban uses terror to try and stop girls going to school. I was just one target for their violence. There are many others whose names are not known. It is for them that we must continue our campaign to ensure that all children, in the world have the chance to go to school.
The problems are by no means confined to Pakistan. And it is not just terrorists who are preventing girls, or children more generally, from getting an education. In India, innocent children are forced into child labour by their families, meaning that they cannot go to school. In many parts of the world girls are forced into domestic child labour and then into marriage against their will. In parts of Asia and Africa, wars and conflicts have raged on and off for decades, making education impossible as schools are destroyed or because it is too dangerous for children to leave their homes.
In many parts of the world there is little justice for children and - particularly - for girls. The facts of the matter are well-known. Eighty per cent of all human trafficking victims are girls. In a single year, an estimated 150 million girls are victims of sexual violence. Seventy per cent of the world's 1.4 billion poor are women and girls.
Dear friends, the challenges are enormous, and they will not be solved instantly, but at the heart of the solution is one simple thing - the right of every girl to an education.
I was lucky enough to have been invited to the United Nations recently to make a speech. I told my audience there - 400 children just like me from all around the world - that I would continue my campaign by working with governments to ensure free compulsory education, of a high quality, that teaches tolerance, and gives all children the skills they need to succeed in the world. I also urged governments to do more to act to fight terrorism and violence and to protect children from brutality and harm around the world.
We must work together to ensure that girls are protected, respected and helped to flourish. We cannot all succeed, when half of us are held back. Someone once said â€“ if you educate a boy, you educate a boy - but if you educate a girl, you educate a generation.
So again today, I dedicate myself to this cause.
My goal is education for all of the children of the world:
Black or white;
Christian or Muslim;
Rich or poor;
Boy or girl.
Dear Friends, working together I am confident that we will achieve this aim. Thank you very much for coming today. It is an honour to share this moment with you all.