AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
Published — Tuesday 5 February 2013
Last update 5 February 2013 3:18 am
LONDON: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taleban for campaigning for girls’ education, said she was getting better in her first public statement released yesterday.
“Today you can see that I am alive. I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone and I am getting better day by day,” said the 15-year-old in a video message made before she underwent surgery on her skull on Saturday.
Speaking clearly in English, she said: “It’s just because of the prayers of people. Because all people — men, women, children — all of them have prayed for me.
“And because of all these prayers God has given me this new life — a second life. And I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated. For that reason, we have organized the Malala Fund.”
In an attack that drew worldwide condemnation, a Taleban gunman shot Malala at point-blank range as her school bus traveled through Pakistan’s Swat Valley on Oct. 9.
Surgeons in Pakistan saved her life with an initial operation to relieve the pressure on her brain before she was flown to Britain to be treated at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, central England.
Doctors say the bullet grazed Malala’s brain and traveled through her head and neck before lodging in her left shoulder.
In the surgery this weekend, she had a titanium plate fitted to replace part of her skull and surgeons inserted an implant to help restore her hearing in her left ear.
The Malala Fund is a charity set up in late 2012 to promote education for girls.
Malala first rose to prominence aged 11 with a blog for the BBC’s Urdu-language service charting her life under the Taleban.
Since her attempted murder, millions of people have signed petitions supporting her cause, while the United Nations declared a global “Malala Day” last November.