The story of Malala Yousafzai literally makes me cry. The bravery of this young girl, still only 15, is beyond imagination. In 2007, terrorism took over the Swat region of Pakistan [where Malala is from], with constant attacks on the citizens and children of the region. In 2009, the Taliban issued a warning that girls were no longer able to attend schools. Despite attacks and bombings of girl’s schools, at just 11 years old, Malala publicly spoke out against the Taliban. She continued to share her story through the media [namely the BBC and New York Times] to fight for the right for girls to be educated.

Her bravery resulted in international attention for Swat. She was awarded Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize and was able to help regain rights for young girls in the region to be educated. In 2011, Desmond Tutu nominated Malala for the International Children’s Peace Prize, gaining her even more fame.

Sadly this fame came at a price, and Malala was gravely injured from an assassination attempt by the Taliban in October 2012. By a miracle that could only be described as Heaven-sent, Malala survived and in January of 2013, she began speaking out again for the right of girls to be educated.

Malala is a symbol of courage, bravery, strength, and compassion. She is unafraid to speak up for equal rights, and has already changed the world. Recently, Malala became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee in history.

I hope she wins.

Read more: Malala’s story