The two girls injured in the same attack as Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012 have been offered places at the University of Edinburgh. Yousafzai became the subject of global attention after being shot in the head by the Taliban on her way home from a school exam.
As well as being awarded the prestigious title of UN Ambassador of Peace, Yousafzai was also named the youngest ever Nobel Laureate at the age of 17. In her acceptance speech at the Nobel Prize Convention, she said: “I am not a lone voice. I am Malala, but I am also Shazia. I am Kainat.”
The girls she refers to, Shazia Ramzan and Kainat Riaz, were also victims of the attack that required Yousafzai to be flown to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for life saving surgery. While Yousafzai herself went on to receive global recognition for her activism for female education, Ramzan and Riaz reported being treated as security threats to their community in their home village of Swat Valley, Pakistan.
Once studying in the UK, Yousafzai was offered a place of study at UWC Atlantic College, an international boarding school. But after turning down the offer, Yousafzai asked if Ramzan and Riaz could attend instead. With the help of Gordon Brown, former Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy on Global Education, the pair were able to secure visas and funding to begin their studies at the prestigious school.
Both Ramzan and Riaz have reportedly received offers to study nursing at the University of Edinburgh, as of April.
They are still in contact with Gordon Brown, who has acted as a mentor for both girls throughout their time in the UK and is assisting them in sourcing funding to pursue their studies at Edinburgh.
Yousafzai has received a conditional offer to study PPE at Lady Margaret Hall in Oxford, The Oxford Student reports. The young activist will have to meet her conditional offer of AAA at A level to begin her degree there later this year.
Ramzan and Riaz are no strangers to Edinburgh, having attended the Global Citizenship Commission public meeting in the city, while Yousefzai also spoke at the University of Edinburgh in 2013. The trio have reportedly kept in contact, celebrating Eid together in Birmingham every year and staying connected with one another online, Ramzan told The Telegraph.
Both Ramzan and Riaz have stated that after completion of their studies they will return to their home country of Pakistan.
“I believe I should go back to my country and try to make change there,” Riaz told The Telegraph. “However we can help, we will,” added Ramzan.