Classmate Injured in Attack Offers Prayers for Malala


"A lot of people have learned that girls' education is very important," Riaz says of the incident's aftermath and the outpouring of media coverage.

"Malala almost sacrificed her life for it. Many girls who weren't studying are studying now."

The case has even drawn high-profile international support from unlikely quarters. Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who serves as a goodwill ambassador to the UN, wrote an oped declaring "We are Malala," and pop superstar Madonna recently dedicated a concert to the young girl.

Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy for Education, has taken up Yousafzai's cause, starting a global movement pushing for girls to have free and unfettered access to education. A petition he initiated reportedly has more than a million signatures. He plans to visit Pakistan on Saturday – which he's dubbed world "Malala" day to present the petition to Pakistan's President, Asif Ali Zardari, in person.

All of this – the outpouring of support, the media coverage, the potential to change millions of lives – doesn't phase Riaz, who speaks in a confident tone. Though her wounds haven't fully healed – she still has fevers and migraines at night – her thoughts remain focused on one thing.

Her friend Malala.

"There is no one like Malala," she says, flashing the tiniest hint of a smile.

"She was a different kind of girl."

It seems, the world would agree.

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