Malala and her uniform

Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center

11 December 2014, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in history, Malala Yousafzai, visited the Nobel Peace Center to open the exhibition about herself. There, she could see the school uniform she had been wearing when she was shot by the Taliban.

On 10 October 2012, a 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl called Malala hovered between life and death. The day before, she had been shot by the Taliban while riding the school bus. They wanted to stop Malala’s fight for the right of girls to go to school. The doctors managed to save Malala’s life.

Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center

To the day, two years later, on 10 October 2014, came the news that she had become the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate, for her fearless efforts to promote the right of children and young people to go to school. Malala herself was busy with a chemistry lesson when the news was announced. It says a lot about her that she waited until the end of the school day to comment on the award.

When we set about creating the Nobel Peace Prize exhibition about Malala and Kailash, her fellow laureate, Malala herself suggested to put the school uniform on display. No one in Malala’s circle knew that the family had kept the blood-soaked garment.

Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center

Now it was to be presented publicly for the first time. It was carefully shipped from Birmingham in the UK to Oslo, where it was put on display at the heart of the Peace Prize exhibition.

The trousers and shawl, that had once been white, were covered in dried blood. And it could clearly be seen how the doctors cut away the uniform as they battled to save the severely injured girl. The uniform tells the story of Malala’s fearless struggle for the right of children to go to school and to express themselves freely. 

By showing her uniform, Malala wanted her story and her message to reach out to many people. In an interview she gave specially for the exhibition, Malala said: “The uniform is an important part of my life, and now I want to show it to other children and people all over the world. For it is my right, and the right of every child, to go to school. And we must not forget that.”