Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by Taliban gunmen, is to address the United Nations as part of her campaign to ensure free compulsory education for every child.
Malala Yousafzai will mark her 16th birthday by delivering a speech later on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York.
She was shot in the head on a school bus by Taliban gunmen because of her campaign for girls’ rights.
It will be Malala Yousafzai’s first public speech since last October’s incident in Pakistan’s north-western Swat valley.
After the shooting Malala Yousafzai was flown from Pakistan to the UK for treatment, and now lives in Birmingham.
Malala Yousafzai is to address the UN as part of her campaign to ensure free compulsory education for every child
A passionate campaigner for female education, Malala Yousafzai will address more than 500 students at a specially convened youth assembly.
The teenager has been credited with bringing the issue of women’s education to global attention.
In her speech Malala Yousafzai will call on politicians to take urgent action to ensure every child has the right to go to school.
About 57 million people around the world still do not have access to education, and a quarter of young women have not completed primary school.
The Pakistani schoolgirl, who set up the Malala Fund following the attack, will also present a petition of more than three million signatures to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanding education for all.
The event, described as Malala Day by the UN, has been organized by former British PM Gordon Brown, now the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.
Gordon Brown said: “Getting every girl and boy into school by 2015 is achievable.
“It is only impossible if people say it’s impossible. Malala says it is possible – and young people all over the world think it is possible.”
Aid agencies say that female access to education in Pakistan is a particular problem. They say that the country ranks among the lowest in terms of girls’ education enrolment, literacy and government spending.
Angelina Jolie has honored Pakistani schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, who has launched Malala Fund, a charity to fund girls’ education.
In New York, Angelina Jolie said Malala Yousafzai would be “in charge” of the Malala Fund.
Malala Yousafzai, 15, said in a video the launch was “the happiest moment of my life”.
The charity’s first grant will fund the education of 40 girls in Pakistan.
Angelina Jolie has honored Malala Yousafzai, who has launched Malala Fund, a charity to fund girls’ education
Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban in October in retribution for her advocacy for girls’ education.
The teenager now attends school in Birmingham, UK, following her recovery from the shooting and has signed a book deal worth about $3 million for her memoir.
The book, titled I am Malala, is scheduled for publication in the autumn.
“Announcing the first grant of the Malala Fund is the happiest moment in my life,” Malala Yousafzai said in a video message at the Women in the World conference in New York.
“I invite all of you to support the Malala Fund and let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls.”
Malala Yousafzai started school again in mid-March following surgery to fit a titanium plate and cochlear implant into her skull.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban last year, has spoken for the first time describing how a fund has been set up in her name to help all children get an education.
Malala Yousafzai, 15, was speaking in an interview recorded before surgery at a Birmingham hospital on Saturday.
She was shot on a school bus in October in Pakistan by the Taliban after campaigning for girls’ rights.
Surgeons at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital said Malala Yousafzai was recovering “very well” from the latest operation.
A bullet was removed from her head by surgeons in Pakistan, before she was flown to the UK for further treatment.
Malala Yousafzai was discharged as an inpatient from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in January and underwent a five-hour operation at the weekend to fit a titanium plate over her damaged skull.
She also had a cochlear implant fitted to deal with some deafness caused by her injuries.
Speaking in the video in English, Malala Yousafzai said she wanted to “serve the people”.
She said: “Today you can see that I’m alive. I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone and today I can speak and I’m getting better day by day.
“It’s just because of the prayers of people, because all the people – men, women, children – all of them have prayed for me.
“Because of these prayers, God has given me this new life and this is a second life.
“I want to serve the people and I want every girl, every child, to be educated and for that reason we have organized the Malala Fund.”
She also made her comments in Urdu and Pashtu.
Malala Yousafzai described how a fund has been set up in her name to help all children get an education
The Taliban said it attacked the campaigner for girls’ education for “promoting secularism”.
The first grant from the Malala Fund will go to an organization in the teenager’s home region of the Swat Valley in Pakistan and it aims to encourage girls to go to school instead of going straight into work.
Those behind the project said it would help enroll selected girls into schools and give them the support to continue with their studies.
It is also expected to work with families to understand the importance of education for their daughters.
The Malala Fund has been set up by international organization Vital Voices, which says it helps give women a voice to promote prosperity and peace in their communities.
A message on the organization’s website said: “We established the Malala Fund on behalf of Malala and her family, working together with supporters of the cause, including the United Nations Foundation and Girl Up, and within a community of supportive organizations and individuals, to realize Malala’s vision of education for all girls.”
In a news conference on Monday, the Birmingham hospital’s medical director Dr. Dave Rosser said everything had gone “very well” in Saturday’s operation and said the teenager’s condition was continuing to improve.
He said: “She went back to the intensive care unit that evening, primarily as a precautionary measure rather than because of any major concerns and she’s now back on one of the wards in the hospital and doing very well.”
Consultant neurosurgeon Anwen White said she now did not expect Malala Yousafzai to have to undergo any further surgery.
Anwen White added that Malala Yousafzai remained “a very happy, very enthusiastic young woman”.