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Malala invites five global girl champions to attend Nobel Peace Prize ceremony

By Aslam Chandio for TwoCircles.net,

Islamabad: Rights activist and young campaigner for girls’ education Malala Yousafzai has invited five remarkable and inspiring girl champions to the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony scheduled to be held on December 10 at Oslo, Norway.

For this Nobel Peace Prize “Girl Delegation”, Malala, the youngest Nobel winner, will be joined in Oslo by Shazia Ramzan, Kainat Riaz and Kainat Soomro from Pakistan, Mezon Almellehan from Syria and Amina Yusuf from Nigeria. The young women will be Malala’s special guests as she accepts the award at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to be held on Wednesday.

File photo Malala Yousafzai (Courtesy: wishsubmission)

“Though I will be one girl receiving this award, I know I am not a lone voice,” said Malala. “This Nobel Peace Prize is for all girls everywhere who want education. These courageous girls are not just my friends; they are now my sisters in our campaign for education for every child.”

Malala’s long-time Pakistani friends Shazia Ramzan, 16, and Kainat Riaz, 17, were shot during the Taliban attack on Malala in 2012 as the girls were on their bus en route to home from school. After Shazia and Kainat recovered from their wounds, they were awarded scholarships to attend school in the United Kingdom, where they are one year into their studies.

Shazia and Kainat are education advocates and hope to become doctors before returning to Pakistan.

In response to Malala’s Nobel Peace Prize win and invitation, Shazia said, “I am very happy that Malala is receiving the Nobel peace prize. This is an honour for Malala, for all Pakistani people and for education. Thank you, Malala, for letting us share this special moment with you, our friend.”

“I am very excited that I am going to Oslo. I wanted to be there when Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize,” said Kainat Riaz. “Malala is my friend, and she is very brave. I will always support her. This is a very big honour for her, for us and for Pakistan.”

Kainat Soomro is a young Pakistani woman fighting for justice eight years after being sexually assaulted. She escaped after three days in captivity and continues to receive death threats as she seeks to prosecute her attackers.

Malala recently befriended Kainat, and they will meet in person for the first time in Oslo when Kainat joins Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize events.

“Malala’s struggle has encouraged me to start my education that I missed out on for so many years,” said Kainat Soomro. “I hope that Malala’s Nobel award will provide me an opportunity to highlight the injustices meted-out to me and the courage to continue fighting such injustices becoming fate of other young girls in Pakistan.”

Mezon Almellehan, 16, is a Syrian refugee and education advocate. Malala and Mezon became friends when Mezon led Malala on a tour of a sprawling Syrian refugee camp, Za’atari, in Jordan in February. They visited classrooms and Mezon explained how she goes from tent to tent encouraging girls to join her in going to school. As a result, some news reports dubbed Mezon the “Malala of Syrian refugees”. Mezon’s family has recently moved to a new refugee camp in Jordan, Azraq.

The Malala Fund currently supports education programmes for Syrian refugee girls.

“Malala’s visit gave me great strength to overcome obstacles no matter how much they are. And it made me realize, that I should not let these obstacles stop me, even if they might destroy me or destroy many girls who are subjected to injustice by their families and society. My visit gives me the strength to support others for the sake of peace and stand up for their rights, which they might be denied because of problems that they did not create and cannot solve on their own,” said Mezon.

Last but not least is Malala’s friend from Nigeria, Amina Yusuf. Amina, 17, lives in northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram’s anti-education terror is rampant. She grew up in a community where girls rarely attend secondary school. After graduating from secondary school, Amina received a scholarship from the Centre for Girls’ Education where she serves a mentor for young girls. Amina and Malala first met during Malala’s visit to Nigeria in July of this year. The Malala Fund now supports Centre for Girls’ Education programs.

“My friends and I are proud that a young girl like us, Malala, is receiving such an admirable prize. We are challenged by this and hope to serve our community and nation at large better. This is really inspiring. My joy knows no bounds ..!”, concluded Amina.

On October 10, 2014, the Norwegian Nobel Committee named Malala and Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi as 2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in recognition of their struggle against the oppression of young people.

Seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai, the youngest recipient of this honor, will be receiving the award alongside Kailash Satyarthi at a ceremony to be held in Oslo on December 10.


(Aslam Chandio is an Islamabad based journalist. He tweets at @aslamchandio_ )