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Malala Yousafzai

Standing ovations for Malala: Do not let your age stop you

Memorable quotes from The Growth Faculty event An Evening with Malala Yousafzai

More than 13,000 educators, business and charity organisation leaders, activists, students, philanthropists, journalists, politicians, and fans rose to give standing ovations to a confident and relaxed Malala Yousafzai, at The Growth Faculty’s capacity crowd events in Sydney and Melbourne this week.

Interviewed on stage by ABC journalist Annabel Crabb, the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and Oxford University student immediately found rapport with her audience by wishing Australia well in the second test of the cricket against India.  Come on! India! You have to defeat India! You know it’s important to me! she said to the laughing crowd.

Malala Yousafzai
Managing Director of The Growth Faculty Karen Beattie, introduced Malala by saying she was everything that embodied a change maker, pointing out Malala's fight for the education for girls started long before the world got to know her. 

Here are some of the many memorable quotes from the inspiring 21 year old, who reflected on her upbringing, her idyllic childhood, and the aftermath of the assassination attempt by the Taliban when only 15 years old:   

My father named me Malala after the Pashtun warrior. I would be called after the only woman known by her name. Even if you go to a doctor, they write (you down as) someone’s sister, or someone’s daughter.

Women didn’t exist in our family, I was the first female written (on the family tree) for 300 years.

At age 6, my mother sold her school books to buy sweets. Nobody asked her why, because her education wasn’t taken seriously.

When I looked at the mountains, I thought the world ended there.

From the beginning I felt my views were important, even at age 10. That was our family environment.

I still remember when I felt like I was losing my dreams, losing my future.

My brothers used to play police vs. thief. It became Taliban vs army.

You (Australians) have education, you have peace most importantly.

The Taliban specifically targeted girls and women. They did not believe in girls’ education. They do not accept women being independent.

Imagine going to Westfield and every shop has a sign on it saying women are not allowed in this shop. Stupid, weird, rules.

On one day, I woke up and we could not go to school, and more than 400 schools were destroyed at that time.

When my future was taken from me, I knew I had two options: To speak out, or remain silent. To be silent was no hope.

I wasn’t thinking about bravery or courage. I was thinking about my rights.

My friend was 11 and she suddenly disappeared from the class. (Later) she told me she had got married and now had a child, when she herself was a child.

Education is not the reading and writing, it is the future of women.

When you educate a girl, you empower the girl.

Do not let your age stop you from changing the world. I was 11 years old when I started speaking out ... I was not thinking for a second that just because I was young I could not change the world.

The Taliban could not accept my voice because it was the truth, and the truth was hurting them.

When they turned 13 or 14 the girls who spoke out were stopped by their families. The only thing different and unique about me is my dad believing in me finding my voice.

My dad famously said, ‘Don’t ask me what did I do, ask me what I did not do. I did not clip her wings. Do not clip girls’ wings.’

My father was a feminist before he knew the word feminist.

Because I was young, I never thought the Taliban would target me. I was more worried about my dad.

I was confused when I woke up, I’d never heard of Birmingham before.

I could not speak because of the tube helping me breathe. I’d write two questions only: Where is my father? Who’s going to pay (the hospital bills)?

I lost hearing in my left ear. I wear a cochlear implant. Any physical weakness is a part of me. It won’t stop me from doing anything in life.

Many times I’ve asked, did I really have my childhood? A lot of people in Swat Valley lost their childhood… I became adult a bit too soon.

The fact that I stand up for 130 million girls not in school around the world is because I was one of them.  

I decided to speak out globally for those deprived girls. When I could not go to school, I wanted someone to speak out for me.

The advantages of educating girls are enormous and countless. It’s the best investment you can ever make.

It’s about lifting people out of poverty. For that, educating girls is crucial.

It’s education that gives us these professions in society, freedom of speech, democracy, equality.

We realised if we invested in girls education, it could add 30 trillion to the world economy.
I think it’s important everyone who has access to education should take advantage of it.

It’s quite hard, let’s be honest. I have to do two essays a week, 30 books on the reading list. It’s quite a panic sometimes but I’m enjoying it.

My parents are very different. My dad is a very nice gentle person. My mum is very, very strict. There is not an ideal parent, we all are different, but they are the ones who love us the most.

As soon as I put my feet on the ground (in Pakistan, earlier this year), I was so grateful and happy. My parents were crying. We went to our house. I saw my room. My books were still there, my trophies, my drawings.

When I go to a refugee camp, I find so much hope there… We need a welcoming response globally towards refugees. We should not be hostile, we should not be cruel.

All faiths and all societies have the rule to treat others as you would want them to treat you.

Diversity makes the world even more beautiful. Let’s be more human.

I don’t think I’m accomplished. I don’t think of awards as achievements. An achievement is reaching your goal. The Nobel Peace Prize is helping me reach that goal.

The Growth Faculty offers you access to global thought leaders in leadership and management. In 2019 see former CEO of global success story PepsiCo, the famously candid Indra Nooyi, who will address an exclusive dinner event An Evening with Indra Nooyi in June 2019. For information and tickets, click here.  

Also in 2019, the world renowned TED talk sensation Brené Brown. For information and tickets, click here.