Heroine/Crusader for women’s rights

What are the qualities a person should have to be considered heroic? 

What is your mental picture of a hero/heroine?


Look at the following definition?  Were you right?


The following is a definition given by a young British person:

definition of a hero

Can you think of any figure (in the field of history, science, literature, art, politics, etc.) that matches these definitions?

How old are the heroic figures you came up with?  Is any of them of your age?

What are the rights generally taken for granted in our country which are not necessarily guaranteed elsewhere in the world?

When I think of a heroic figure the word that pops to my mind is courage and the image I picture in my mind is that of a person overcoming incredible difficulties, of a person who manages to keep his/her balance regardless of the pressures s/he is subjected to.

stock-photo-definition-of-courage-47761264 courage-faith-hope-quote-text-Favim.com-124868

courage-i12940We gain strength and courage and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face.

We are going to work on an incredible young girl’s act of defiance, an act that almost caused her life to come to an end, an act that has sparked constructive reactions all over the world, an act that has reminded me of how young people can make a difference in this world and how adults can learn from them. 

Malala-Yousafzai-photo-2012 (1)Malala Yousafzai is a young woman striving for getting education in developing countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Africa.  She was attacked in 2012 in Swat when she was going home from school; she was shot by militants Taliban because she had been criticising them for not allowing girls for getting education in the Swat Vellay. 

I am stronger than fear

Read the following article about Malala and be prepared to answer the following questions in class together.  I am indebted to the idea of a post on Malala and to the article to my colleague Nella Maccarrone.  As you already know I often work with Nella and the other great colleague Laura Cimetta, whose website you have visited on different occasions.  She created a post on Malala too, visit it!  What would I do without these friends and colleagues that spark enthusiasm and creativity in my teaching?

Malala The Powerful

Questions on the newspaper article taken from Current

Now watch a BBC Interview to Malala.  What are the questions you would ask Malala?  Jot down the questions asked by the interviewer? Do they satisfy you?  What strikes you about Malala’s way of speaking?

0,,16948324_303,00Watch Malala’s speech at the UN Youth Assemly and do the activities prepared by Nella.

Watch Malala

Malala has become a heroic figure around the world and has inspired petitions, debates and prompted a beautiful song, proof that Malala’s voice sparked creativity in some young singers who apparently seem so distant from her personal fight and plight, but certainly share the same need to see their rights preserved.  They can go to school without seeing their right to an education thwarted by the system, so why did they write this song in support of Malala? I am Malala official song (the lyrics)

Different star figures have taken to raise people’s awareness and inform them of Malala’s plight.

Look at the following video clips and be prepared to discuss in class the different ways these famous figures used their influential public resonance to endorse Malala’s cause.

Which one did you like best?  Why?

The boundary between self-referentiality (self-publicity) and true humanitarian support is very fine, almost impossible to put it down in black and white.

Now I would like you to create a video with quotes, catchphrases, images, poems written for Malala, a page of her diary (written by you but inspired by her!) with a background song to be posted on Youtube to celebrate this great young woman.

This is the way some teenagers reacted to Malala’s words.  Let me hear your voices too, let me see how you can pay tribute to Malala too.


If you want you can read the first pages of her book “I am Malala” and the diary she originally wrote in Urdu published on the BBC webpage.

Malala-YousafzaiIn 2014 this Pakistani child education activist and Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian child rights campaigner, have jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. At the age of just 17, Malala is the youngest ever recipient of the prize. The Nobel committee praised the pair’s “struggle against the suppression of children and young people”.

Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, paid tribute to Malala’s achievements by saying: “Despite her youth, Malala Yousafzai, has already fought for several years for the right of girls to education and has shown by example that children and young people too can contribute to improving their own situations.  This she has done under the most dangerous circumstances. Through her heroic struggle she has become a leading spokesperson for girls’ rights to education.”


Malala was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2013, and awarded the EU’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize that year.


Nobel peace prize

Here you can find her Nobel Peace Prize Speech


95  Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded 1901-2014

16 women have been awarded the prize, including Malala Yousafzai

17 Malala’s age, making her the youngest ever laureate

62 average age of laureates when they were awarded the prize

3 laureates were under arrest at the time of the award: Carl von Ossietzky, Aung San Suu Kyi & Liu Xiaobo

Malala Yousafzai Opens Birmingham Library

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95 Responses to Heroine/Crusader for women’s rights

  1. Federica Del Savio says:

    I’m really happy to have the possibility to learn so many things about Malala Yousafzay because she’s amazing; honestly before this work I’d never heard of Malala maybe something on the television but nothing more. But now, I have understand how lucky we are to go to school, because we can study what we like, we can choose the school that we prefer and we don’t have to pay for do it; she is so brave and so amazing that when I read something about her I’m really speechless, there aren’t words for describe her. if someone asked me what I think about Malala I will be in trouble, I really don’t know how to answer it, perhaps saying that she’s amazing, but she isn’t only this, she’s a hero for me and for all the other people. She wasn’t allowed to go to school, but she ALWAYS want to study and one day when she was in the bus for the school she was shot by Taliban. Now. half of her face is paralyzed but she’s still beautiful, I’m really lucky to study Malala because she’s amazing! I’d like to meet her one day for ask her some questions and tell her that is wonderful, and i really appreciated what she did and what she still doing for education.

  2. Martina Ivancich says:

    I remember the day when, by news on Tv, I heard for the first time the story of Malala. I was in the dining room with my dad and, at the end of the programme, he said to me :” You should take her like an example, she fought for what she believed in and you must do the same. You shouldn’t be afraid by anyone. ”
    I knew a little about this girl but now, after watching her speech, I’m really impressed. That day she didn’t fight only for her rights, she fought even for the rights of all the children around the world. Malala risked her life because she wanted an education too, a thing that here in Italy is absolutely unknown beacause we don’t have to fight to go to school. Her gesture made all the world think and those people reward her with respect and love. I meditate too after what she said, I understand that having an Education is really important for my future and I’m very lucky to be free to study, learn, write and read but especially I understand that I don’t have to be afraid to express my opinions and to follow everytime my dreams. I think she should be considerated an heroine, a person is remembered when does something great and her, a 17 year old girl, was the greatest of all.

  3. Giovanna Da Ros says:

    I think that Malala is an amazing person.
    Where did she find the courage and the determination to do all of these fantastic things? I think that we all have to admire her because she fights for what she wants, for the equality, because she wanted to go to school, to learn all the things that normal teenagers do. I was surprised when I watch the video of the speech at the UN Youth Assembly because of her perfect english. How can she learned it so good without going to school? The answer is that she is definitely determinate. She dressed like a man and went to school, and I thing that she was terribly scared of death in that moment but she did it because she thinks that education is a right that everybody must have. I really admire her because she speaked her mind, she didn’t care if it was very dangerous, and i thin that this is an important lesson, because if you fight for something good, something that can help you and other people, you will win in the end, and in fact she won the nobel price. And the other fantastic part of her story is that she was probably death but maybe destiny wants her to go on with her ideas.

    Malala is a young women that wanted to change the world and she was not interested in fame, money or things like that, that now a day are the most important in this disgusting world, so we should all be proud that there are girls like her.

  4. Giulia Brunetti says:

    We’re a extremely superficial generation.
    We usually don’t appreciate what we have just because we’ve already have everything.
    We take everything for garanteed.
    But there are people who doesn’t have anything, and people who have too much.
    I walk through the walls of my school and I just listen students talk about how school sucks, but while we’re hating school, there are teenagers who would pay to go to school.
    Malala is one of them.
    She wanted to learn, she wanted to be intelligent, she wanted to go to school and then, finally, she realized her big dream.
    But she has gone so close to death. Some horrible people shooted her in the face, and now half of her face is paralyzed.
    I can’t stop to admire her. She has hope, and she is strenght.. She know what she want, and she’s fighting for herself and for everyone like her.
    Usually, I give up after a while.. And watching and reading how this girl is fighting for her rights left me breathless.
    I’m not strong enough to keep fighting forever but damn, she really looks like a heroine who doesn’t have the intention to stop fighting.. And that’s giving me hope.
    That’s giving me hope because now I can understand that there’s alway another way which will take you to the happiness, to the success.
    That’s giving me hope because now I can understand that that’s not the end. That in our broken generation there’s still someone who have the courage to fight.
    The only one problem is that we all will never be together like a team.. There will always be that person who will want to ruin everything.
    But it doesn’t really matter, because even if someone will try to destroy us, if we’ll keep fighting, there won’t be an end.
    And Malala is the perfect example. Because even if one day she will die, everyone will remember her like the girl who changed the world.
    The girl who fight for her rights. The girl who wanted an equal treatment for everyone, because they deserve it.
    The 14 year-old girl who just didn’t give up: Malala.

    Giulia Brunetti / 2*F

  5. Nicole Mellina says:

    Malala is an incredibly young and wise girl. She appears like a good and naive girl, she sees the good part of people even where there is not. Her ingenuity makes her positive and makes her not be frightened by those who want to shut her ideas up and by those who want her dead. Malala never gave up, she fought for her rights and her ideas, I really admire her. We just don’t think about countries were children can’t go to school because we gave it for garanted, but it’s the possibility of learning that gives us the power of knowing, thinking and acting. We are selfish and uncaring when we think like this because in many countries of the world children don’t have this privilege. Girls like Malala are not allowed to go to school even if they want to learn things, they want to know what there is outside, and want to have their own ideas. She didn’t fight only for herself but for the right of every child who can’t go to school, and she made it, she won a nobel prize at the age of fourteen. She reached achievements unthinkable before. Malala is an example to all of us, she is not greed, she doesn’t care about popularity or success, she just want to do what she can to make the difference, to change the world. Malala is a really great person, she have courage, strenght and kindness, she was also so brave to forgive the Pakistani for what they did. She explained that wars can be fought with just a book and a pen, “the pen is mightier than a sword”, that was what she said, becuase knowledge is power. We don’t need guns and violence to solve problems, because it doesn’t solve really a thing. A lot of young people got to know her story and were shoked that a little girl like her could do such a brave thing and could make us think. I didn’t know her, but when I saw the videos I was moved by her courage, her thoughts and her achievements. With the help of her heroes and her family she made the diference. Malala Yousafzai is an heroine.

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