He named me Malala

"Let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world”

When Malala Yousafzai spoke those words on 12 July 2013, her 16th birthday and now dubbed Malala Day, she electrified the assembled dignitaries at the United Nations. And the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban a year earlier on a school bus for daring to speak out for girls in her community continues to inspire those fighting for female education worldwide.

Now, a film about Malala – the youngest-ever recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize – is due to go on release on 2 October and will show in the UAE in November. The documentary, “He Named Me Malala”, is a glimpse into the Nobel laureate’s life, including her close relationship with her father and her impassioned speeches at the UN. Still just a 17-year-old teenager, the film also shows her everyday life at home and at school. The trailer for the film was released on Friday.

A campaign to raise awareness and funding for quality secondary education for girls globally will be launched alongside the film. The campaign is being organised by the Malala Fund, which she co-founded with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai. Some 62 million girls around the world are not in school and the poorest girls spend just three years in education, according to the NGO.

The film is directed by Davis Guggenheim, known for his climate change film “An Inconvenient Truth”, and part funded by Image Nation Abu Dhabi. The film will also be shown on National Geographic Channels in 2016 in 171 countries and 45 languages.

Malala has been a vocal advocate for girls’ education ever since, aged 11 years old, she wrote an anonymous diary for the BBC’s Urdu channel about life under the Taliban and her desire to go to school. Her writings lead to the attack on her and her friends in October 2012 in Pakistan’s Swat valley.