What's the Story? "I represent Swat, the Switzerland of the East, which, was once so beautiful, so peaceful and so full of life has now become a valley of violence, bloodshed, and denial of respect for humanity and values," said Malalay, speaking on behalf of her classmates at a peace conference organized by the international poverty alleviation group ActionAid and its local partner Citizen Rights and Sustainable Development.
"O' the protector of human rights and justice, Come out! Stand by us! Give my books back! Give my pen back!" reads a poem Malalay wrote and used to address local elders.
Due to recent violence in northwest Pakistan, including Malalay's native Swat valley, hundreds of schools have been burned down. In addition, millions of people have been forced to flee the ongoing conflict between the Taliban and Pakistani military. Together, these factors are "causing girls to lose their right to an education," says ActionAid. (See the organization's full statement below). More>>