Koinonia Farm’s vision statement is “love through service to others, joy through generous hospitality, peace through reconciliation.” All of our guest rooms are named after people who have come before us and embodied these ideas. These peacemakers are from all over the world and from all different periods of history. This “great cloud of witnesses” and their stories encourage us to keep pursuing love, joy, and peace in our life and work.

Malala Yousafzai color portrait

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997 in Minjora, Pakistan. This area of Pakistan is in the Swat Valley and is a popular tourist destination. Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, owned public schools in the regions and is an activist for education. Malala attended one of her father’s school from a young age. As the Taliban gained power in the area, they threatened closing schools and not allowing education for women. In 2008, Malala Yousafazai gave a speech entitled “How Dare the Taliban Take Away My Basic Right to Education?” in Peshawar, Pakistan. In 2009, Yousafzai began blogging for the BBC about education and the Taliban’s threats. She used the pen name Gul Makai, a name of a character in a folktale. By December 2009, her identity as the BBC blogger was revealed.

Why shall I wait for someone else? Why shall I be looking to the government, to the army, that they would help us … for them to help me. Why don’t I raise my voice? Why don’t we speak up for our rights?

During 2009, Yousafzai’s school was closed for months at a time and she and her family were forced to relocate due to the fighting around their home. They returned home by mid-2009. Yousafzai continued to speak out against the banning of education and fight for her own right to education. In 2011, she was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Two months later, she won Pakistan’s National Youth Peace Prize. By 2012, Yousafzai was well-known for her outspoken support of education. This same year, she and her family learned of the Taliban’s death threat on her. On October 9, 2012, a member of the Taliban boarded Yousafzai’s school bus and shot her in the face.

I think that the best way to solve problems and to fight is through dialogue, is through peaceful way, but for me the best way to fight against terrorism and extremism is just simple thing: educate the next generation.

Yousafzai was in critical condition, but she had survived the shooting. She was flown to Birmingham, England to undergo various surgeries and to recover. In the wake of her assassination attempt, over two million people signed a petition and Pakistan passed a Right to Education Bill. In March 2013, she began attending Edgbaston High School in Birmingham and her father was given a job at the Pakistani Consulate. On her 16th birthday, July 12, 2013, she gave a speech to the United Nations. In October 2013, her autobiography, I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, was released. That same year, the European Parliament awarded her the Sakharov Prize for Freedom.
Malala Yousafazai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, along with an Indian children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. She is the youngest person to win this award: she was 17 years old. She graduated from Oxford University in 2020. Malala continues to work for the right to education around the world through the Malala Fund and other avenues.

Malala Yousafzai giving a speech