Now almost approaching one year since she was shot in the head and neck, Malala Youfazai, the Pakistani school pupil and education activist, is to speak at the Institute of Asian Businesses (IAB) dinner and awards on 30 November at the ICC in Birmingham. Malala has written a book and names a reticent Dr. Fiona Reynolds who recommended she go to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and who helped to save her life, following an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. Malala is tipped to be named as the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize later this week.
Known for her education and women's rights activism in the Swat Valley, where the Taliban had at times banned girls from attending school, the assassination attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support.
In early 2009, at the age of 11–12, Yousafzai wrote a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC detailing her life under Taliban rule, their attempts to take control of the valley, and her views on promoting education for girls. The following summer, a New York Times documentary was filmed about her life as the Pakistani military intervened in the region, culminating in the Second Battle of Swat. Yousafzai rose in prominence, giving interviews in print and on television, and she was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize by South African activist Desmond Tutu.
In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, for intensive rehabilitation.
On 12 October 2012, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father.
Chief guest speaker at the dinner will be the man who founded two of Britain’s fastest-growing export companies after beginning his career as a cook at Kentucky Fried Chicken earning 35p per hour.
Raminder Singh Ranger, founder and chairman of Sun Mark Ltd and Sea, Air & Land Forwarding Ltd, subsequently managed ten KFC stores and his two companies went on to win five Queen’s Awards for Export and Enterprise. He was awarded the MBE for services to British businesses and the Asian community.
Nasir Awan, president of the IAB said: “I am pleased to be hosting Malala at our annual dinner. She is an internationally recognised young person for her inspiration and determination which is a lesson for us all. Especially in the business world where all of us need to aim for success despite the challenges.”
Actor and comedian Kulvinder Ghir, star of the hit comedy, ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ and also of ‘Bend it like Beckham’ will be compering the dinner and awards.
The IAB dinner will include four awards - business person of the year, customer service of the year, young entrepreneur of the year and outstanding contribution to society.
The President's award winner will be announced on the night. The award will be made in recognition of inspiration, achievements and efforts to help others.
A charity prize draw will also take place to raise funds for Birmingham Rathbone, a charity which enables people with learning difficulties to achieve their full potential. To book call Kiran Jagdev on 450 4223.