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Malala Yousafzai

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To consider the Nobel Peace Prizes with particular reference to 2014 winner Malala Yousafzai. 

Preparation and materials


  1. Show the children the pictures one at a time and ask them if they can think of any connections between the people shown in them. If possible show all four pictures at the same time so the children can point out similarities and differences between the people. For example men/women, old/young etc.

  2. Explain that there are many differences between the people shown but they have one special thing in common – they have all won a very important prize! Ask if any of the children have heard of the Nobel Peace Prizes. Ask if any of them can think what the prize may be for – emphasize the world ‘Peace’. 

  3. Explain that the Nobel Peace Prize is one of five prizes given each year by the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway. The prizes have been awarded every year since 1901. The awards began when a famous Swedish inventor called Alfred Nobel left a lot of money in his will stating that the five prizes would be given for Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Literature and Peace.

  4. Point out that each person in the pictures won the ‘Peace’ prize. Ask the children if they can guess what each person won the prize for. Mother Teresa (1979) for bringing help to poor people who were suffering, particularly in Calcutta, India; Nelson Mandela (1993) for working to end apartheid in South Africa; David Trimble (1984) for his efforts to bring peace in Northern Ireland. Point out that the picture of the young girl shows the most recent Nobel Peace Prize winner – 2014.

  5. Show just Malala Yousafzai’s picture on the screen. Explain that Malala is the youngest person ever to win this award.

  6. Explain that you want to ask the children a few questions and that you want them to put up their hands or keep their hands down in response to your questions. Ask: Who likes coming to school to work and play with your friends? When the children respond, look round and say, ‘lots of you, both boys and girls’. Ask: Who thinks it is important to learn to read? When the children respond, look around and say ‘lots of you, both boys and girls’. Repeat this after each question: Who thinks it is important to learn to count at school? Who thinks it is important to learn to write at school? Who thinks it is important to learn all the other subjects like science, PE etc.?

  7. Explain that there are some people who think that only boys should be allowed to learn to read and write – only boys should be allowed to go to school.

  8. When she was younger, Malala Yousafzai lived in Pakistan. Most people in Pakistan think that it is very important that girls go to school. However there is a small group of people who think this is wrong. Malala and her family have worked very hard to make sure that girls can receive a good education. Even at eleven years old, Malala was campaigning to help girls go to school. However, in October 2012 a group of people (the Taliban) in Malala’s area of Pakistan banned girls from going to school. Malala thought this was very wrong and refused to stay away from school. This resulted in her being shot. She was seriously injured but, as she got better, she became more and more determined to do all she could to make sure all girls everywhere in the world could receive a good education.

  9. Malala is now 17 years old and lives in Birmingham in the UK. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her bravery and strength in helping all children and young people everywhere to receive a good education.

  10. Malala is a very brave girl. She is only 17 but she has learnt to stand up for people who maybe wouldn’t have the strength to stand up for themselves. Challenge the children to think about their own lives. Are they the sort of people who would stand up for the weak or poor?

Time for reflection

Think about Malala Yousafzai. Even though she is only young, she still thought about children and young people in the world who couldn’t go to school and would never be able to learn to read or write. Despite knowing that it could be dangerous, she stood up for what she knew was right – that children should be allowed to go to school. How brave are we? If we see things that are unjust or unfair, are we willing to stand against them? Would we stand up for another child who was being bullied or laughed at? Would we be willing to be laughed at ourselves because we reached out to help another person

Dear God, 
Thank you for our school and for the opportunity to have a good education. 
Thank you for people like Malala Yousafzai. 
Thank you for all those in the world who stand against things that are wrong and who work hard to help others. 
Please help us to stand up for what is right. Please help us to be peacemakers in every situation. 


‘When I needed a neighbour’ (Come and Praise, 69)

Publication date: October 2014   (Vol.16 No.10)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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