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Malala Yousafzai
November 12, 2017


One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.

Malala Yousafzai

The youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Malala Yousafzai (named after a Pashtun heroine), was born in Mingora, Pakistan on July 12, 1997. A place where women are not privileged as men to receive proper education. His father, Ziauddin, an educator provided the education Malala needed and supports her interest in learning. The family flee their home in Swat Valley as the Pakistan armies were commissioned to clean-out the Taliban militants who have invaded the place.

malala nobel 2014
2014: Nobel Peace Prize, shared with Kailash Satyarthi

These militants ban owning TV, kids playing and girls attending school. Stealthily, Malala blogged for BBC, as ‘Gul Makai’ and describe her life in the midst of crisis. She was eventually identified by the Taliban, as the world came across her story, and targeted to be killed. In her school bus, a masked gunman shot her in the head, neck and shoulder, on October 12, 2012.

Miraculously, Malala survived but in a critical condition. She had to be flown to United Kingdom for her medical needs. As soon as she recovered she went back to school and continued her advocacy for girls or any underprivileged kids to receive proper education. On her 16th birthday,  she gave a speech at the United Nations. July 12 has been declared as ‘Malala Day’ by the UN.

malala shooting
Malala’s journey from near death to recovery

For most of us, we may not be able to fathom the feeling of being deprived of education. This however, is not a rare fate. Some may have experienced this because other priorities in the household, like food, have to be put forth first. I remember a college friend who had to stop because his father became ill; and another friend did not enroll high-school because it’s her siblings time to finish elementary and she had to wait until they are done. This kind of deprivation is not rare.

What Malala is teaching us leaders, is resilience. It is grappling against the tide to achieve our goals. It is grasping air when it is being taken away from us.  It is persevering no matter what comes in the way that hinder us from succeeding. She is also teaching us to courageously make a stand on what we strongly believe in, for the greater good and become the voice for those who are silenced.

There is a way to learn new things, there are available resources around you but they won’t come to you, you have to go to them. You cannot be complacent and blame others for your idiocy over something relevant for your people and to your role.

I am inspired by those who have grappled against their unfortunate fate and with nil to no means, pursued their dreams.  They are the kind of leaders we need because they are creative, great at strategies and are resilient.

We human beings don’t realize how great God is. He has given us an extraordinary brain and a sensitive loving heart. He has blessed us with two lips to talk and express our feelings, two eyes which see a world of colors and beauty, two feet which walk on the road of life, two hands to work for us, and two ears to hear the words of love. As I found with my ear, no one knows how much power they have in their each and every organ until they lose one.

Attribute: Resilience

Reference: – Malala’s Story

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Learning and Culture Director at Stellar Philippines
Fran Saguindang Riego de Dios, MS has been in training and leadership development for more than a decade now. In earning her Master of Science in Biology degree, she joined the College of Science and Mathematics faculty of MSU-IIT and published her studies in Asia Life and Philippine Scientists Journals. For her, moving into the corporate world felt odd at first but with the scientific method and discipline in her backpack, it has become a fulfilling experience. You may also visit her personal Science Blog Site at Live Well #Godisfaithful. She also enjoys music (sings and plays the piano) and art (portrait sketch). Most Talented Training & Development Leaders in the Philippines 2019 (14th Employer Branding Awards - Employer Branding Institute-India).
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