Malala and her friends were walking home after taking a chemistry exam in Mingora on a Tuesday in October 2012 when two men, who were a part of the Taliban, stopped and shot at them. Malala was shot in the forehead and the other two, Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramen, were also shot at. Riaz was shot in the shoulder, and Ramen in the shoulder and her hand.

Malala was in critical condition; she was flown to a hospital in the United Kingdom where she would receive treatment and recover. The world would later learn about her story and she would go on to receive a Nobel Peace Prize, become the youngest UN Ambassador of Peace, and be given Honorary Citizenship in Canada.

The other two girls, however, received treatment locally and had to return back home to a hostile environment and negative attitudes. Neighbours wanted them gone. Their bus diver even refused to transport them to school, all because they were now viewed as a target on the Talban’s hit list.

Malala reached out to the girls and offered them a scholarship, the same one she had received, to study at the international boarding school UWC Atlantic College in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. A year after the incident, they moved to the United Kingdom.

It was a positive adjust for the girls, who went from always having to travel with their family, to now being able to be comfortable alone. In addition, they could blend in as normal students, instead of, being labeled as ‘Malala’s friends.’ They were famous in Pakistan, but not here.

Riaz and Ramen are now ready to head to University. They have both received offers to study nursing at the University of Edinburgh. An inspiring reminder that education is so important, as is it essentially what helped save all three of these young ladies, and gave them a brighter future to look forward to.

By Rhea Braganza

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