Pakistani teen inspires others to fight for education

Story highlights

  • Malala Yousufzai is a 14-year-old Pakistani activist fighting for the right of girls to go to school
  • Yousufzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for blogging against them
  • Nonproft organizations are working in Pakistan to help girls gain access to education
  • Sign the "I Am Malala" petition or submit an iReport to show your support for Yousufzai

"I have rights. I have the right of education," Malala Yousufzai boldly asserted during an interview with CNN last year.

Now the 14-year-old girl from Pakistan is slowly recovering after being shot in the head by the Taliban for blogging against them and defending the right of girls to go to school.

Her plight has inspired people far beyond her home in the Taliban-heavy Swat Valley. Large crowds are rallying around the world to show support for Yousufzai and her cause.

Before the attack, Yousufzai was in the process of starting a charity, the Malala Education Development Organization, to promote female education in northern Pakistan. Other organizations are also working in the region to turn her dream into a reality for all girls in Pakistan.

UNICEF condemned the assault, calling Yousufzai a "courageous voice" who speaks for millions of girls "desperate to receive and education." To make a donation to UNICEF's Stand with Malala campaign and support education programs in Pakistan, visit the organization's website.

The Citizens Foundation has worked to improve education in Pakistan since 1995 and started 830 schools, according to the organization's website. The group says it encourages girls to enroll in its schools and works to ensure that approximately half of its students are female. Go online to make a donation.

Developments in Literacy also operates schools and provides teacher training in Pakistan. The organization says that more than 17,000 students are enrolled in its schools, approximately 68% of them girls, according to its website. To make a donation in honor of Yousufzai, visit the group's website. Be sure to write "Malala" in the notes.

"I Am Malala" is an online petition honoring Yousufzai and calling for Pakistan and countries worldwide to ensure all children have access to the education. The initiative was launched by the Office of the U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education. To sign the petition, visit the website.

You can also share your story and promote girls' education on CNN iReport. Girls + Education = #BasicMath is spreading the message that educating girls in developing nations can change the world.

Learn more about how you can help at CNN Impact Your World

      Malala's battle

    • A copy of the memoirs of Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai is pictured in a bookstore in Islamabad on October 8, 2013. Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai tells of the moment she was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education in her new autobiography out on October 8, amid speculation that she may be about to become the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb, 'I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban' tells of the 16-year-old's terror as two gunmen boarded her schoolbus on October 9, 2012 and shot her in the head.

      The teen blogger simply wanted an education. But she became a symbol of defiance against militants, empowering young women worldwide.
    • Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taliban, sits before she speaks at the United Nations (UN) Youth Assembly on July 12, 2013 in New York City.

      More than three million girls are out of school in Pakistan, while spending on education has decreased to 2.3 percent of GDP in 2010.
    • Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, officially opens The Library of Birmingham in Birmingham, central England, on September 3, 2013.

      The Pakistani Taliban issues a new death threat against Malala, who turns the other cheek.
    • Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai was able to stand up and communicate on Friday, October 19.

      Hundreds of messages from around the world were received by CNN for Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teen activist attacked by the Taliban.
    • Pakistani NGOs activists carry placards as they shout slogans at an event on International Human Rights Day in Lahore on December 10, 2012.

      Pakistan has a new heroine and a new cause -- a girl's right to education. Now the government vows to get every child into school by end 2015.