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Believe In Your Voice: Malala's Empowering Message To Young Girls

In front of a standing crowd in Sydney Malala Yousafzai had an empowering message for young people: "Do not let your age stop you from changing the world".

Yousafzai remembers the day she thought she was losing her dreams.

It was in December 2008 when the Taliban announced it would be banning girls from going to school in the Swat Valley in Pakistan.

"No girl would be allowed to go to school. No girl had the right to become a doctor, a teacher or an engineer," she told a young and enamored crowd of 8000 in Sydney on Monday night. 

"Girls were limited to the four walls of their houses.

"They couldn't be human."

Yousafzai is in Australia as part of the Women World Changers series to continue her fight for every girl to be able to attend school.

"The fact that I stand up for 130 million girls who are not in school is because I was one of them," she said. 

It's a fight that started years earlier, and almost cost her her life.

In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban on the bus home from school in northern Pakistan, aged 15.

She had been blogging about life under the Taliban's ban on girls' education under a pseudonym since she was 11 years old.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai speaking in Sydney. Image: AAP

"You lose your childhood because you don't feel safe when you go outside because you are a girl, you can't listen to music or watch TV," she told the crowd.

"When all these things are taken, it is a difficult life."

'They tried to silence me, but they failed’

But this never stopped her from speaking up for her rights.

In the years since, Yousafzai has turned her life -- and that of millions of others' -- around through her tireless campaigning for women's education, equality and justice.

In doing so, she says those who tried to silence her "failed".

"The terrorists had tried their best and they did what could be their last attempt and they still failed, and that to me was just evidence of how strong my voice was," she said. 

Yousafzai's family moved to England following the shooting, where she completed her secondary and tertiary education. She's now in her second year at Oxford studying politics and philosophy.

READ MORE: Australian Teens Aren't Happy With Their High School Education

Yousafzai urged young people to believe in themselves and their voice. Image: AAP

At 17, she became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and set up a foundation in her name to campaign for girls' education.

"If you give an education to a girl, you are changing their life and the world, too. It is one of the best investments you can make."

The Malala Fund is now investing in local change makers in dozens of countries.

"In some places, girls can only go to school if there are female teachers, in other places it is a need to increase Indigenous education," she said.

"This is a big, big mission, and I hope everyone will think about it, and think how they can help."

Contact the author ebrancatisano@networkten.com.au

Featured image: AAP