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Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai (Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

‘They want a home’

Malala Yousafzai writes book about the survival stories and aspirations of refugee girls

By WITW Staff on January 8, 2019

Education activist and youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner, Malala Yousafzai, has written a new book highlighting the plight of young female refugees struggling to find safe havens, as many countries become increasingly hostile to asylum seekers.

In 2009, Yousafzai was forced to flee her home country of Pakistan after she was shot in the head by the Taliban while riding a bus to school, aged 15. Appearing on CBS This Morning, Yousafzai, 21, said she hoped her new book, We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories From Refugee Girls Around the World, would encourage people to look at refugees with empathy and compassion rather than fear and distrust.

“Oftentimes when we hear about refugees we hear about them in figures and numbers. We hear about them, but we never hear from them. We never hear what they want to say, what their dreams are, their aspirations are,” the Oxford University student explained.

In addition to sharing her own story, Yousafzai spoke with other refugees, such as Marie Claire, who found a haven in Lancaster Pennsylvania after fleeing violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia. In another account, a Guatemalan refugee named Analisa spoke about the hardship and dangers she faced during her long journey to and across the U.S.-Mexico border.

“For most of these girls, most of these women and children around the world who are going through conflicts right now, going through wars right now, their last choice is to become refugees, but that’s often the only choice to survive,” she continued. “They want, you know, to live in a peaceful place. They want to have a home. They want to have a future for their children. And that’s often the things that we don’t hear. And I think that’s something that I want people to understand and that I want to deliver to this world.”

Yousafzai, who last year made her first return to Pakistan since the brutal attack that nearly took her life, also doubled down on her claim that U.S. President Donald Trump and other politicians need to visit refugees if they want to make truly informed decisions on immigration policy.

“I hope that the president and also other political leaders in the U.S. they will reflect what American people believe, which is welcoming and which is supporting refugees,” she told CBS. “And I hope that the president and other people read the book and learn more about refugees. And I also hope that they visit a refugee camp and actually meet refugee people and hear their stories.”

Read the full story at CBS News.

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