Bekaa Valley, July 13: The youngest person to have ever won the Nobel Prize and child education activist, Malala Yousafzai turned 18 on Sunday. The teenager celebrated her birthday by giving the gift of education to little girls of wartorn Syria, by opening a school for them.Also Read - Shoaib Akhtar Insulted, Asked to Leave LIVE TV Show Midway by Host; Video Goes Viral | WATCH
She also called upon the world leaders to shun violence and stop investing in arms and ammunition and use that money to finance education for underprivileged children instead. “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets,” Malala said in a speech. Also Read - T20 World Cup 2021 Points Table After Pakistan vs New Zealand Match; How does a Pakistan Win Benefit India? Explained
The Malala Fund, a non-profit organization that supports local education projects, paid for the school in the Bekaa Valley, close to the Syrian border. It can welcome up to 200 girls aged 14 to 18. Also Read - Afghan Women Protest Against Restrictions Imposed By Taliban
Lebanon is home to 1.2 million of the 4 million refugees that have fled Syria’s war to neighboring countries. There are about 500,000 Syrian school-age children in Lebanon, but only a fifth are in formal education.
“I decided to be in Lebanon because I believe that the voices of the Syrian refugees need to be heard and they have been ignored for so long,” Malala told Reuters. Malala was feted with songs and a birthday cake and was moved to tears by the adulation shown to her by the girls. Read: Jackky Bhagnani makes video to wish Malala Yousafzai’s birthday
Malala became a symbol of defiance after she was shot on a school bus in Pakistan in 2012 by the Taliban for advocating girls’ rights to education. She continued campaigning and won the Nobel in 2014. She won the Nobel Peace Prize on 24th October, 2014.
Malala Fund had earlier started a campaign to push for the demand to spread education through #booksnotbullets campaign. The campaign asked people to post a photo holding their favourite book on social media websites on Malala Day (Malala’s Birthday), to show that they stand for education, not violence.
The statement for the campaign on the site of Malala Fund says, “For Malala Day, Malala’s 18th birthday on July 12th, Malala is done with wishes. She wants action.”