Malala Yousafzai becomes first person to win Nobel peace prize and World Children’s Prize in same year
Nobel peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai has donated $50,000 to the reconstruction of schools in Gaza.
The schoolgirl campaigner, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan two years ago, received the money when she won the World Children’s Prize yesterday in Sweden.
She said the prize, equivalent to around £31,000 and awarded for work promoting children’s rights, would be channelled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to help rebuild 65 schools in the Palestinian territory.
Yousafzai, the first person to receive both prizes in the same year, now lives in the UK and has set up her own fund to help girls receive an education.
She said the $50,000 donation would help children in Gaza get “quality education” and continue their life, knowing that people were supporting them.
“The needs are overwhelming – more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future,” she said. “This funding will help rebuild the 65 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long.”
Pierre Krahenbuhl, UNRWA’s commissioner general, told The Guardian the organisation was “deeply touched” by the gesture. It would “lift the spirits of a quarter of a million UNRWA students in Gaza and boost the morale of our more than 9,000 teaching staff there”, he said.
Yousafzai was nominated for the World Children’s Prize for her “courageous and dangerous” fight for girls’ rights to an education. She began speaking out at the age of 11, after the Taliban banned girls from going to school in the Swat Valley in Pakistan. After defying the rules and continuing her education, she was shot and almost killed at the age of 15.
The World Children’s Prize organisers say she has since become a role model to children across the world and continues to campaign for every child’s right to an education.
The only other person to win both the Nobel peace prize and the World Children’s Prize is Nelson Mandela.