Malala Yousafzai Celebrates 18th Birthday, Opens a School for Girls


Malala Yousafzai, youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, celebrated her 18th birthday today by opening a school for girls in Lebanon. The school will serve Syrian refugees, of which there are currently 1.2 million in Lebanon.

“I decided to be in Lebanon because I believe that the voices of the Syrian refugees need to be heard and they have been ignored for so long,” Yousafzai told Reuters. The news agency reports:

The Malala Fund, a non-profit organization that supports local education projects, paid for the school in the Bekaa Valley, close to the Syrian border. It can welcome up to 200 girls aged 14 to 18.

Yousafzai has long been a unflappable advocate for female education a position that, in 2012, led the Taliban to target the young activist. The violent attacks, however, did not silence Yousafzai, and during today’s opening she called on world leaders to “invest in books instead of bullets.” She also criticized both Lebanon and Jordan for turning away Syrian refugees.

How did you celebrate your 18th birthday?

Image via Getty.

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