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Malala to visit TT

By NEWSDAY STAFF Saturday, March 15 2014

YOUNG freedom fighter and education activist Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in her head a year ago by a Taliban gunman for defying orders and going to school in her homeland in Pakistan, will visit this country after accepting an invitation from Tertiary Education and Skills Training Minister Fazal Karim.

“Here is a 16-year-old girl who is a global icon of courage and determination and it gives me great pleasure to say that she will be visiting our country later this year to speak about her life, her struggles and how she was willing to sacrifice it for an education,” Minister Karim told Newsday last night.

Earlier yesterday, at an International Women’s Day forum titled, “Inspiring Change, Influencing the Future” at the Hyatt Regency in Port-of-Spain, Karim announced that Malala had accepted his personal invitation to visit Trinidad and Tobago as a guest of his ministry later this year.

The forum was hosted by the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts (COSTAAT).

Karim said Malala’s acceptance follows a visit he made to her home in England earlier this year when he met her and her family.

Also at yesterday’s forum, Karim presented Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar with a copy of Malala’s book I Am Malala which chronicles her stance that girls under Taliban rule in Pakistan be allowed the basic human right of an education.

Malala became a global name as the Pakistani girl who stood up for education of girls and on October 9, 2012, she almost paid the ultimate price when she was shot in the head at point blank range while riding the bus home from school. She was not expected to survive.

Instead of being deterred by this experience, her fervor for campaigning for this cause has only heightened. Her miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York and Buckingham Palace.

“She is such a warm, friendly, respectful and humble young girl. When you look at her you cannot imagine what she has gone through,” Karim said, adding he was drawn to her story in recognition of a common vision which is to make a difference in the lives of people through education in terms of equality of opportunity, access, relevance and quality.

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