Pakistani students, UN officials pay tribute to teen shot by Taliban
Published Saturday, November 10, 2012 9:01AM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 10, 2012 4:10PM EST
Pakistani students and human rights activists around the world are paying tribute to Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old girl who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman last month for promoting girls' right to education.
A UN-backed Global Day of Action is being held in Malala's name, with the aim of raising awareness about Malala and the millions of children who are unable to access education worldwide.
In her hometown of Mingora in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat Valley, hundreds of students on Saturday prayed for Malala’s recovery and vowed to continue her mission.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent a video message to the gathering, to tell them that Malala has become a global symbol of every girl's right to education.
New images were made available this week showing Malala getting out of bed and reading cards from well-wishers. Her father, Ziauddin Yousufzai says the family is grateful for the outpouring of support.
"I'm awfully thankful to all peace-loving well-wishers of Malala Yousufzai who strongly condemn the assassination attempt on Malala, who pray for her health and who support the grand cause of Malala Yousufzai -- that is peace, education, freedom of thought and freedom of expression," he said.
"She has been inspired and humbled by the thousands of cards messages and gifts that she has received. They have helped my daughter survive and stay strong."
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, who’s now the UN Envoy for Global Education, also visited to show international support for her recovery and her cause.
"There's a huge momentum now and people are saying, 'Look, I was silent before, but I’m not going to be silent as long as girls are denied education'," he told reporters.
It was one month ago that Taliban members shot Malala as she headed home from school in a bid to silence her three-year long fight for access to education. The Taliban said they targeted Malala because she promoted "Western thinking" and was critical of the militant group.
Malala has since been flown to a hospital in Birmingham, England, for treatment for her brain injury. Doctors there say she is making steady progress, and beginning to speak again, but that her recovery could take many more months.
Malala has become one of the most prominent voices to speak out against the Taliban in Pakistan. Some are now saying she should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work.
Tens of thousands have already signed an online petition calling for Malala to be nominated for the prize, with many saying she represents those denied an education.
With a report from CTV’s Ben O'Hara-Byrne
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