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Wounded Pakistani schoolgirl talks about surgery, new girls' fund

February 04, 2013|By Janet Stobart
  • A British hospital released this image from a video of an interview with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai after surgery to repair wounds she received when she was shot by the Taliban.
A British hospital released this image from a video of an interview with… (University Hospitals Birmingham )

LONDON -- Two videos were released Monday showing Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai speaking publicly for the first time since she was shot by the Taliban in October for campaigning for female education.

The first, recorded by a public relations company on Jan. 22, days before the 15-year-old underwent complex cranial and auricular reconstruction surgery at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, features Malala announcing the launch of a special fund for girls’ education in Pakistan. She speaks clearly with some stiffness on one side of her face.

“Today you can see that I am alive and I can speak," she said. "I can see you, I can see everyone and today I can speak. I am getting better day by day ... because of the prayers of people, because of the men, the women, the children. … This is a second life, this is a new life and I want to serve, I was to serve the people, and I want every girl, every child to be educated and for that reason we have organized the Malala fund.”

She repeated her messages in English, Urdu and Pashtu.

In a later video, recorded Sunday, 24 hours after her cranial reconstruction surgery, she is seen talking to an intensive-care doctor about the five-hour operation, in which a titanium plate was installed in her skull. She again spoke of her “mission to help people.”

“God gave me a new life ... because of the prayers of people and because of the talent of doctors,” she said to Dr. Mav Manji, a critical care consultant.

At a news conference Monday, Dr. David Rosser, the hospital's medical director, and Dr. Anwen White, Malala’s neurosurgeon, told reporters she needed no further operations.

White said the teen would probably be released in a few days and should make a full recovery.

They doctors described the placement of the titanium plate and the insertion of a cochlear implant to restore hearing in her left ear. The cochlear implant will not be switched on for about a month, they said.

“She was very keen to have the titanium plate put in. She is a very happy and very enthusiastic young woman,” White said. In response to a question about Malala's status as a woman in Pakistan, White said: “It does seem incredibly unjust as a woman in Britain I can be a consultant neurosurgeon, whereas a woman in Malala’s situation would struggle to achieve the same job.”

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