Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, penned down a heartfelt piece reminding the world of her dreadful experience nine years ago, when she was shot by the Taliban for raising her voice for girl’s education.

“In October 2012, a member of the Pakistani Taliban boarded my school bus and shot one bullet into my left temple. The bullet grazed my left eye, skull, and brain – lacerating my facial nerve, shattering my eardrum and breaking my jaw,” wrote Malala.

“The emergency surgeons in Peshawar, Pakistan removed my left temporal skull bone to create space for my brain to swell in response to the injury. Their quick action saved my life.”


Malala at the hospital post her surgery in 2012

“Days later I still couldn’t speak, but I started to write things in a notebook and show them to everyone who came to my room. I had questions: What happened to me? Where is my father? Who is going to pay for this treatment? We don’t have money.”

Remembering her experience nine years ago, Malala wrote, “I tried to stay calm. I told myself, When they discharge me, I will find a job, earn some money, buy a phone, call my family, and work until I pay all the bills I owe to the hospital.”

“I touched my abdomen; it felt hard and stiff. I asked the nurse if there was a problem with my stomach. She informed me that when the Pakistani surgeons removed part of my skull bone, they relocated it in my stomach and that, one day, I would have another surgery to put it back in my head.”

“But the UK doctors eventually decided to fit a titanium plate where my skull bone had been, reducing the risk of infection, in a procedure called a cranioplasty. They took the piece of my skull out of my stomach. Today it sits on my bookshelf,” wrote Malala.

Malala’s skull bone, residing on her bookshelf

“A few months after the nerve surgery and with regular facial massage, my symmetry and movement had improved a little. If I smiled with my lips closed, I could almost see my old face. I covered my mouth with my hands when I laughed – so people wouldn’t see that one side didn’t work as well as the other. I avoided staring in the mirror or watching myself on video. In my own mind, I thought I looked fine. I accepted the reality and was happy with myself,” says Malala.

“On August 9 in Boston, I woke up at 5:00am to go to the hospital for my latest surgery and saw the news that the Taliban had taken Kunduz, the first major city to fall in Afghanistan. Over the next few days, with ice packs and a bandage wrapped around my head, I watched as province after province fell to men with guns, loaded with bullets like the one that shot me,” wrote the activist.

Malala after her recent surgery in Boston

“As soon as I could sit up again, I was making phone calls, writing letters to heads of state around the world, and speaking with women’s rights activists still in Afghanistan. In the last two weeks, we’ve been able to help several of them and their families get to a safe place. But I know we can’t save everyone,” writes Malala.

“Nine years later, I am still recovering from just one bullet. The people of Afghanistan have taken millions of bullets over the last four decades. My heart breaks for those whose names we will forget or never even know, whose cries for help will go unanswered,” wrote Malala Yousafzai.