Malala’s birthday wish: Bring back the Nigerian schoolgirls

BY Vicky Pasquantonio  July 13, 2014 at 4:58 PM EST
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Malala Yousafzai opens the new Library of Birmingham at Centenary Square on September 3, 2013 in Birmingham, England. The new futuristic building was officially opened by 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai who was attacked by Taliban gunmen on her school bus near her former home in Pakistan in October 2012. The new building  was designed by architect Francine Hoube and has cost 189 million GBP. The modern exterior of interlacing rings reflects the canals and tunnels of Birmingham. The library's ten floors will house the city's internationally important collections of archives, photography and rare books as well as it's lending library.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Malala Yousafzai is shown at the opening of the Library of Birmingham in Birmingham, England. Yousafzai, who turns 17 on Monday, told families in Nigeria this weekend that she hopes to take an active role in bringing home the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by the militant group Boko Haram. Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot by the Pakistani Taliban in 2012, said it is her birthday wish to help bring back Nigeria’s kidnapped schoolgirls.

The 16-year-old Nobel Peace Prize-nominated activist turns 17 on Monday. She told families in Nigeria that she hopes to take an active role to bring the girls home safely.

More than 200 schoolgirls were abducted from their school in Chibok in northeast Nigeria on April 15 by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

“I can see those girls as my sisters … and I’m going to speak up for them until they are released,” Yousafzai said, speaking with family members of the kidnapped girls and activists who make up the “Bring Back Our Girls” movement in Abuja.

Yousafzai said she would take the families’ messages to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who she will meet with on Monday.

Yousafzai was shot in the head in October of 2012 on her way home from school in Swat Valley in Pakistan.

Prior to the shooting, Yousafzai had received international attention for writing a blog for the British Broadcasting System about life under Taliban rule.

Yousafzai was flown to the U.K. for treatment following the attack.

She has since become a leading voice in the international fight for girls to receive an education.

She told NewsHour’s Margaret Warner in an interview last year that the Pakistani Taliban “are misusing the name of Islam for their own personal benefits.”