Most of us know about the despicable (and defining) shooting of teen activist Malala Yousafzai, shot because she wanted an education not just for herself but for every girl in Pakistan. But what many of us don’t know is that two of her close girlfriends were also wounded that day on the school-bus – Ramzan, who was shot twice in the arms, and Riaz, who was wounded in the hand.
Today, Ramzan and Riaz work for the Malala Fund to advocate for girls’ education, having previously studied at the UWC Atlantic College in Wales (where they received scholarships). In this moving interview, the girls talk about all they’ve gone through to achieve a basic right most of us take for granted — an education.
Riaz talks about when the Taliban first came to their home-town of the Swat Valley, “In the beginning they said that they were just talking about Islam. Everyone wants to follow Islam but the way they are doing it — like stopping things like education and women’s rights… In the end they are doing such a stupid thing. It was not in Islam.”
Ramzan talks about the defining moment on the bus, “Before the day on the bus we were just listening to Malala and what she was doing. We were just supporting Malala. After the bus, I realized that I should speak up. I should speak up for the girls who are not going to school. I should speak up for myself, that education is my right. Without education I can’t do anything. I think no one can do anything. By education you know the world. “