A Pakistani schoolgirl brought to England after being shot in the head by the Taliban will address the United Nations today.
Malala Yousafzai will mark her 16th birthday by delivering a speech at the UN headquarters in New York to call on governments to ensure free compulsory education for every child.
It will be the teenager’s first public speech since she was attacked on a bus in Pakistan’s north-western Swat valley after standing up for her right to go to school in her home country.
She will tell a delegation of more than 500 young people: “Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.
“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.”
The schoolgirl set up the Malala Fund following the assassination attempt by the Taliban in October last year.
She spent hours undergoing major surgery at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where surgeons tried to repair the damage caused by a bullet which grazed her brain.
Malala, who now attends Edgbaston High School for girls in Birmingham, will also present a petition of more than three million signatures to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon demanding education for all.
The event marks Malala Day and has been organised by former prime minister Gordon Brown, now the UN Special Envoy for Global Education.
He said: “Getting every girl and boy into school by 2015 is achievable.
“It is only impossible if people say it’s impossible. Malala says it is possible – and young people all over the world think it is possible.”
Teenagers Sam Whittingham and Millie Wells will represent the UK at the event after winning a national competition to become Young Ambassadors for the Global Campaign for Education.