Imagine living in a country where, if you think that as a female you are entitled to receive an education just like any male, there are terrorists who think that what you are really entitled to is a bullet in the head.
This is the situation that 15 year old Malala Yousafzai found herself in when she became a public advocate for female education … in defiance of the Taliban. On an October day in 2012 a gunman boarded her school bus and singling her out, shot her in the head, neck and shoulder in a failed assassination attempt that also wounded two other young girls on board the bus.
Having initially received life saving surgery for her injuries at the military hospital in Rawalpindi, offers of medical assistance were made to the Pakistan Government from all around the world.
The decision was made to transport her to the UK, to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where the staff has experience of treating gunshot wounds and major head injuries. This severely wounded girl was flown into the country late last year for medical treatment. Following her initial hospitalisation and treatment, she was recently readmitted to the hospital to undergo re-constructive surgery, repairing the damage to her skull with a titanium plate and also fitting a cochlea implant to restore her damaged hearing.
Given that she suffered such traumatic head injuries she is making a remarkable recovery, apparently with few if any lasting effects. She also remains determined to continue her brave campaign to promote education for girls, in defiance of those who would deny an education to them. This is a smart young woman who understands that ignorance is not bliss, ignorance and illiteracy are a form of poverty that drag everyone down.
Perhaps this should make us all appreciate much more deeply the access we have to education at every level from nursery right up to university degree courses.
By Jean Stewart
- Stephensons’ Personal Injury team has specialist knowledge in dealing with claims to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, a government organisation that compensates innocent victims of violent crime for the injuries they have suffered