Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai, shot in the head last year by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education, vowed Friday to intensify her struggle for “a world where everyone can go to school.”
Speaking at a ceremony in The Hague where she was awarded the 2013 International Children’s Peace Prize, Malala said last October’s attack on her had made her more determined than ever to continue her campaign.
Malala, 16, received her prize from the 2011 Nobel Peace laureate, Yemeni journalist and activist Tawakkol Karman, who told a humbled Malala “you are my hero.”
After she was shot, Malala was given life-saving treatment in Britain where she now lives.
Her brave fight for survival and her speech at the United Nations in July have made her a leading contender for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
But the response to her in Pakistan has been mixed, with many hailing her as a national heroine while others have criticised her for promoting a “Western” agenda.
The International Children’s Peace Prize, an initiative of the Dutch-based KidsRights Foundation, was launched in 2005 and set off by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev when he chaired the Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome.
It carries a cash value of 100,000 euros ($133,000) that is invested in projects relating to the winner’s cause.
Last year’s winner was 13-year-old Cris “Kesz” Valdez for his work with Filipino street children while he himself was destitute.