Malala Yousafzai’s mother has finally learned to read

Yousafzai, a global crusader for women's education and literacy, has extended her reach once more -- to her family VIDEO

Topics: Malala, Malala Yousafzai, Literacy, women's literacy, Education, advocacy, Human Rights, Taliban, Pakistan, New York Times, Video, , , ,

Malala Yousafzai's mother has finally learned to readMalala Yousafzai (Credit: Reuters/Hoda Emam)

After being targeted and shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ rights, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai has become an outspoken global advocate for women’s literacy. While she’s spent the past several years inspiring people around the world to pursue an education, Yousafzai has also played a crucial role in changing the lives of one of the women closest to her: Her mother, Tor Pekai Yousafzai, recently learned to read and write. She can even speak a few words of English, according to the New York Times.

“My mother is now learning English, becoming independent, goes to see the doctor on her own, goes to the shops and markets on her own,” Yousafzai explained in a recent appearance at one of the Times TimesTalks. “On the other hand, my father is now going towards the kitchen. He makes eggs. He cannot really do a lot of cooking, but he brings plates to the table, brings cups, puts jam and butter in those things. So he is getting better. … [Our] family shows an example to the world of how things change with the help of awareness.” 

Yousafzai’s mother, who accompanied her to the event, stood up and spoke a few words toward the end of the interview, emphasizing how her new skills had reshaped her entire life.

Watch the rest of the interview below:

Jenny Kutner

Jenny Kutner is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on sex, gender and feminism. Follow @jennykutner or email

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