Madonna showed her support for the seventeen-year-old Pakistani activist, Malala Yousafzai, who, this year, became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The “Hung Up” singer took to Instagram, where she posted a black and white photo of Yousafzai, with a caption that read: “My Hero! MALALA! Noble Peace Prize Winner!” She continued, “Nothing can stop her! #rebelheart #livingforlove.”
The brave girl became an icon when, in 2012, she was shot by the local Taliban for her involvement in the advocacy for human rights through women’s education. Her hard work in her home of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan soon became a movement around the world, demanding the right for women to have equal access to schooling. And it’s no surprise that education is exceptionally important to Yousafzai, as her family is heavily involved in her local school system. Yousafzai’s career in social justice began at quite an early age when, in September 2008, she vocalized her outrage over the Taliban’s oppression at a local press club in Peshawar. She stated, “How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to education?” The then eleven-year-old Yousafzai’s words were distributed widely throughout various press outlets and news channels in the region, and gave way to her contributions as a blogger for BBC later that year.
Malala Yousafzai is certainly no stranger to honors and accolades, as she impressively has over thirty awards and/or nominations under her belt including Mother Teresa’s Memorial Award for Social Justice and her inclusion as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World in April 2013. Her well-deserved Nobel Prize, which she shared with Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, was granted to both of them by design according to the Nobel Prize Committee. They chose to grant the award to both a Hindu and a Muslim from India and Pakistan, respectively, because it “join[ed] in a common struggle for education and against extremism.” So congratulations, Malala Yousafzai! She clearly has Madonna’s support, but does she have yours?