Malala's Pakistani friends Shazia and Kainat were shot during the Taliban attack on Malala in Mingora on October 12, 2012. As they rode their school bus home that day, Taliban gunmen stopped the bus and asked "Who is Malala?" Malala was shot in the head, Shazia in the shoulder and hand, and Kainat in an arm. After Shazia and Kainat recovered from their wounds, U.N. Education Envoy Gordon Brown helped them obtain scholarships to attend a boarding school in the United Kingdom, UWC Atlantic College, where they are one year into their studies. Shazia, 16, and Kainat, 17, say Malala has inspired them to become education advocates. They are also studying to become doctors, with plans to return to Pakistan after their schooling. Malala, Shazia and Kainat remain friends, staying in touch via frequent video chats.
"I am very happy that Malala is receiving the Nobel peace prize. This is an honour for Malala, for all Pakistani people and for education. Thank you so much for inviting us. Thank you, Malala, for letting us share this special moment with you, our friend." -Shazia Ramzan
"I am very excited that I am going to Oslo. I so wanted to be there when Malala received the Nobel Peace Prize. Malala is my friend, and she is very brave. I will always support her. This is a big very honour for her and for us and for Pakistan." -Kainat Riaz
Mezon is a 16-year-old Syrian refugee education advocate. Malala and Mezon became friends when Mezon led Malala on a tour of a huge Syrian refugee camp, Za’atari, in Jordan in February. They visited classrooms, and Mezon explained how she goes from tent to tent calling on girls to join her in going to school. As a result, some news reports dubbed Mezon the Malala of Syrian refugees. Most Syrian refugee children have not attended school in more than three years. Mezon is determined to change that. Mezon’s family recently moved to a new refugee camp in Jordan, Azraq, where she continues her campaign to convince more refugees to go to school in hopes of preventing of “lost generation” of young Syrians.
“Malala’s visit gave me great strength to overcome obstacles no matter how much they are. And it made me realize that I should not let these obstacles stop me, even if they might destroy me or destroy many girls who are subjected to injustice by their families and society. My visit gives me the strength to support others for the sake of peace and stand up for their rights, which they might be denied because of problems that they did not create and cannot solve on their own.”
Amina, 17, lives in northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram’s anti-education terror is rampant. She grew up in a community where girls rarely attend secondary school and often face child marriage. After graduating from secondary school, Amina received a scholarship from the Centre for Girls’ Education where she serves a mentor for young girls. Amina and Malala first met during Malala’s visit to Nigeria in July of this year. The Malala Fund now supports Centre for Girls’ Education programs.
“My friends and I are proud that a young girl like us, Malala, is receiving such an admirable prize. We are challenged by this and hope to serve our community and nation at large better. This is really inspiring. My joy knows no bounds!.”
Kainat is a young Pakistani woman fighting for justice eight years after being sexually assaulted. She escaped after three days in captivity and continues to receive death threats as she seeks to prosecute her attackers. Malala recently befriended Kainat, and they will meet in person for the first time in Oslo when Kainat joins Malala for the Nobel Peace Prize events.
"I am very happy and grateful to Malala for inviting me to such an important occasion in her life. I am very eager to meet Malala in Oslo. Malala’s struggle has encouraged me to start my education that I missed out on for so many years. I hope that Malala's Nobel award will provide me an opportunity to highlight the injustices meted-out to me and the courage to continue fighting such injustices becoming fate of other young girls in Pakistan."