Today you can see that I’m alive,” said 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai on Monday in her first speaking interview since being shot by the Pakistani Taliban last October. Despite the terror of her attack, Malala remains obstinate in her fight to promote education for girls around the world.
“I can speak. I can see you. I can see everyone,” said Malala. “And I’m getting better day by day.”
In a five-hour, two-part operation, doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham attached a titanium plate to the left side of Malala’s skull, and implanted a cochlear device in her left ear to restore her hearing. Both operations were successful and she won’t need any further surgery, according to her surgeon, Dr. Anwen White.
After the shooting, Malala’s brain swelled on her left side where the bullet pierced her skull–fortunately missing her brain–and doctors had to remove part of her cranium to avoid brain damage. As the swelling went down, the removed skull-piece was retrofitted with a titanium plate and reattached.
“God has given me this new life,” Malala said. “And I want to serve, I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child to be educated. For that reason, we have organized the Malala Fund.”
The Malala Fund was established by Vital Voices, a non-governmental organization which advances women’s leadership through mentoring and outreach. Malala and her father Ziauddin are board members of the fund and will play a large part in deciding where and to which projects the money will go.
CEO of Vital Voices Alyse Nelson has said she wanted to “incubate” an organization that Malala could one day run. “She changes the way the world sees girls,” Nelson said last December. “And not as a victim: as an activist, as a visionary.”
The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan have issued a warning that if Malala survives, they will target her again for being a “secular-minded lady.” Malala’s first words show that, despite threats, she’s not going to back down from the fight to educate girls the world over.
Dr. White hopes that Malala will be discharged from the hospital and allowed to go home “fairly soon.”