On her first day in a British school on Tuesday, Malala Yousafzai said she missed her classmates from Pakistan very much, even as she was excited about resuming her studies.
“I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school. I want all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity,” said Ms. Yousafzai as she walked to Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham, accompanied by her father Ziauddin Yousafzai. Her father has been given a job at the Pakistani consulate so that she can stay on in Britain.
The 15-year-old, who underwent extensive surgery to her badly-damaged skull after narrowly surviving a murderous Taliban attack last October, said she had recovered almost fully and thanked people for their support.
“Because of the faith of the people, I can now walk — I can even run,’’ she said.
Ms. Yousafzai said she was “very proud” of her new school uniform.
“It proves that I am a student and it is the happiest thing for me,” she told the BBC, vowing to continue her campaign to promote girls’ education.
“I miss my classmates from Pakistan very much, but I am looking forward to meeting my teachers and making new friends here in Birmingham.”
The school’s head teacher, Ruth Weeks, said Ms. Yousafzai wanted to be a “normal teenage girl”.
“Talking to her, I know that’s something she missed during her time in hospital,” she said.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, currently U.N.’s special envoy for global education, described it as a “great day” for Ms. Yousafzai.
“By her courage, Malala shows that nothing — not even bullets, intimidation or death threats — can stand in the way of the right of every girl to an education,” he said.