Malala's first grant will educate 40 girls

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Story highlights

  • Malala Yousafzai speaks with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon
  • Malala announces her first grant to help girls in her home region in Pakistan
  • Angelina Jolie will donate $200,000 to the fund to help educate Pakistani girls
  • In March, Malala returned to school for the first time since the Taliban shot her in October

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai has said 40 girls in Pakistan will be the first to benefit from a fund set up in her name after she was shot in the head by the Taliban for her efforts to promote girls' education.

She announced the $45,000 grant for education in the Swat Valley -- the Taliban stronghold where she's from -- in a video played at the Women in the World summit in New York City on Thursday.

"We are going to educate 40 girls, and I invite all of you to support the Malala Fund," she said.

"Let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls."

Actress and U.N. special envoy Angelina Jolie spoke movingly of Malala's courage in the face of the Taliban's attempt to silence her, saying there was "always something special" about her.

"They shot her at point-blank range in the head and made her stronger," she said.

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"In a brutal attempt to silence her voice, it grew louder, and she more resolute in calling on the entire world, not just Pakistan, to ensure the right for every girl and boy to an education."

Jolie also paid tribute to Malala's reluctance to be in the limelight for her own sake, despite her new influence as a campaigner and role model.

"She is powerful, but she is also a sweet, creative, loving little girl who wants to help others and work for others," Jolie said.

Malala: Global symbol, but still just a kid

"She doesn't want to be center of attention -- her goal is progress, not notoriety."

Jolie will donate $200,000 to the Malala Fund, which was set up to support the education of girls in Pakistan, Women in the World said.

The fund was established on Malala's behalf by the Vital Voices Global Partnership, a non-governmental organization founded in 1997 by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Malala spoke via Skype on Friday with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said he was "deeply impressed" with her.

"When we work together we can achieve our goal, and our goal is simple: peace and happiness in this world," she told Ban. "The way to see peace is through education. It is an honor for me to be associated with the U.N. I want to tell the world how important education is."

Ban said, "The U.N. will always be with you and the many people like you."

"If we educate a woman, we educate a family, a community and a country," he said.

Earlier this week in Washington, Malala was presented with Vital Voices' Global Trailblazer Award, in "recognition of her courage, conviction, and vision for the future."

Previous recipients of the award include Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

READ MORE: Malala's journey from near death to recovery

Malala, now 15, rose to global fame after the attack which almost claimed her life last October.

She had already come to national and international attention through a blog she wrote about her life and girls' right to learn.

In March, Malala returned to school for the first time since the masked Taliban gunmen shot her on a school bus.

She's attending lessons in Birmingham, England, the city where doctors treated her after she received initial care in Pakistan.

READ MORE: Teen at school for first time since being shot by Taliban

      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.