Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai is to donate $50,000 towards rebuilding schools in Gaza, she announced Wednesday.
Malala was speaking in Stockholm where she received the World's Children's Prize. She announced that she would donate all the prize money to the United Nations relief and works agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA.
In her speech, Malala said: “I am honored to announce all my World’s Children’s prize money will go to help students and schools in an especially difficult place -- in Gaza.”
She said the UN agency was “performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances.”
“The needs are overwhelming -- more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future,” she added.
The money will help rebuild 65 schools that were damaged in the recent Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip.
“Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long. We must all work to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment. Because without education, there will never be peace. Let us stand together for peace and education because together we are more powerful,” said Malala.
Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl, said in a statement Wednesday that they were “deeply touched” by the donation of the prize money.
Krahenbuhl said that the donation “will lift the spirits of a quarter of a million UNRWA students in Gaza and boost the morale of our more than 9,000 teaching staff.”
“Their suffering during the fighting was devastating and your kindness will do much to ease the pain of recent months.”
Malala has become a “symbol of the boundless potential that lies within each and every child on earth,” Krahenbuhl said.
“You are an aspirational figure to the next generation in Palestine and beyond. You are an inspiration to all of us,” he told Malala.
UNRWA is a United Nations agency which helps about five million Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Its services include education, health care, relief and social services.
The Pakistani Taliban shot Yousafzai in the head in 2012 for campaigning for girls’ education in Pakistan. She miraculously survived the attack and was given treatment at a leading hospital in the U.K., where she now lives.
Earlier this month, the 17-year-old became the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.