It’s been four months since the Taliban attacked Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl who had spent years advocating for education rights for girls, shooting her in the head as she made her way home from school. Yet the terrorists’ bullet didn’t stop Malala. And now, in her first public address since the shooting, Malala has appeared in a video message recorded just days ago, giving voice to her astounding recovery. “Today you can see that I’m alive,” she says, clearly and confidently. “I can speak. I can see you, I can see everyone. And today I can speak and I’m getting better day by day.”
Perhaps even more remarkable than her survival and recovery, however, is the fact that Malala has resumed her fight for girls’ education. Instead of being cowed by the attack, Malala says, “I want every girl, every child to be educated. And for that reason, we have organized Malala Fund.”
The fund was established by a group of high-profile people — including Mark E. Kelly, the astronaut and husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords — who were inspired by Malala’s dedication to her cause and horrified by the attack on her. Acting fast, they connected with a wide range of people — educators in Pakistan, tech innovators and non-profit veterans — to establish a fund that could be chaired by a small board, including Malala and her father Ziauddin.
(PHOTOS: The Malala Effect)
Alyse Nelson, the CEO of Vital Voices, the organization that administers the fund, told TIME in December that Malala Fund founders “wanted to incubate an organization that she would one day run.” And Malala, who had long dreamed of one day organizing such a charity, which will provide grants to other organizations and individuals focused on education, is now strong enough to see her dream through. The fund’s impact will likely be profound, even beyond the strides towards girls’ education. For not only has Malala survived the attack on her by the Taliban, but her cause has flourished, too.
“She changes the way the world sees girls,” Nelson said in December. “And not as a victim—as an activist, as a visionary.”