Just Another Teenage Schoolgirl

The story of Malala Yousafzai, and her courage against the Taliban.
3:00 | 10/12/13

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Transcript for Just Another Teenage Schoolgirl
Tonight we hope you gathered family and friends, you're about to meet a young woman, who is changing the world. She's teaching everyone about courage. And the unstoppable power of children, who just want to learn and walk the path to their future. She's 16 years old. And she was shot in the head, because of what she believes. And we want you to know some of what you'll see tonight is a harsh reality, but her book, i am malala, reminds us all that radiant strength can sometimes come from surprising places. Like a distant valley in pakistan, where there is a battle between dark and light. Reporter: In ancient times the a pashtu people had a proverb, "a woman's place is in the home or in the grave." I come from a country which was created at midnight. Reporter: Tonight, a tiny pashtu girl may be the bravest person in the world. When I almost died it was just after midday. Reporter: One year ago malala yousafzai shot in the head at point blank range. Reporter: And tonight, that 16 year old girl a towering presence in the world. Lining up with her millions of people. Heads of state. All religions. Adults and children holding up their hands to say "i am malala, too." I am malala. We are malala. Cheering her at the united nations, when she promised that millions of girls who've been silenced will be heard. One child, one book, one pen can change the world. teeporr: BEFORE THE WORLD, So much conviction. It is startling when you actually meet her. She is in fact small, shy, childlike. Eager to show her magic tricks. Oh, I know another trick. And the ving out. And the ring is out. Reporter: And she says, like most teens, once she was worried about how short she is and how difficult her hair. I used to be in the toilet for hours. Everything, about my hair or my hair killed me. Reporter: But inside the school girl, a gladiator trying to wake up the world that girls should get to live their dreams, too. In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It's their normal life. But in other part of the world, we are starving for education. For us, it's like a precious gift. It's like a diamond. Reporter: You wanted to be number one in your class. Pretty competitive there. Still I want to be the number one. Reporter: She was born with wild curiosity and a lot of questions. For instance, in her culture, why are women forbidden to leave home without a man, even if the male is just a little boy? I wouldn't go outside without any boy. My brother would go with me. If a man can go, why can't a woman? I can see no difference between them. Reporter: And by her side, navigating his child towards her dreams -- her father, a teacher who built her school from the ground up, scavenging money, even sweeping the floors. I had a great passion for education. My father was a teacher, great teacher. And I loved teaching. Reporter: Her mother, traditional, refusing to be photographed, never learning to read. There are also two little boys in the family, but dad says he always knew this girl was filled with infinite possibility. When I saw her for the first time, a very newborn child, and I looked into her eyes, I fell in love with her, believe me. I love her. I love her. Reporter: Malala said you always said malala will be free as a bird. Where did this come from? I accepted her as an individual. The only difference I meant, i accepted a daughter as an individual. Reporter: When he was a young father he was excited his country seemed to be on the way to an open future. There were new schools and universities being built every day. Then in 2009 the taliban came out of the shadows. The men who first banned DANCING, THE MOVIES, BURNED DVDs In the street and decreed death penalty for barbers and any sign of independence in a woman. Malala was 11 years old and watching. They would slaughter people and the taliban would say this man had long beard, this one had short. That woman is a dancer, she's a singer. That is why we slaughtered them. Reporter: They broadcast this announcement on the radio, all schools for girls had to be closed immediately. They bombed the schoolhouses, threw acid at the faces of girl students. Everyone in terror, one little girl still had her powerful certainty that girls should not disappear into the silence. They cannot stop me. I will get my education, if it is at home, school or any place. Reporter: What was the moment you were first afraid? That you had the most fear? I feel fear all the time. I I was afraid the taliban would throw acid on my face. At night I was thinking all the time, should I put a knife under my pillow. Reporter: She read her books in secret, malala yousafzai decides to take a chance. She starts writing a diary using the name corn flower, with her father they send it to the bbc. It is published online reminiscent of another young girl in peril. Do you know about ann frank? She was a brave confident girl who once lived. And I read a book about her. And she really amazed me. Why they are killed on the basis of religion? What is their crime? What have they done? Reporter: Next malala speaks out in an online video one of her first calling on the world to help. And using her name. We must have the confidence to say this is going wrong, and we must raise our voice. Reporter: And that same year the new york times hears about her and films this documentary. Of a shy, very brave young girl. I want to become a doctor. Reporter: The name malala becomes a beacon in the world and in pakistan her words are gathering strength. So the taliban send warning, death threats, her father tries to navigate between hope and fear. Did you at any point say did i let her become exposed and at risk? I agree. I think we should not put out the camera. Okay? We value freedom. We live for a cause greater than our lives. Reporter: He says the real question is where was everyone else? The people who blame me they should blame themselves who did not speak for their right. It was very hard but you see we stood to protect others. Reporter: Later that year it seems better thanks to the pakistan army, the taliban forced to retreat. We will be the winners. And the militants will be losers. I am hopeful and opt mifltic. I don't agree with him, because the leaders, commanders of taliban are still arrive. Reporter: Still fearful, but with her child like magical thinking, malala rehearses how she would reason with her attacker if they decide to come. It was my desire, if a man comes, what would you tell him, malala? I used to think like that. I said I would tell the man education is very important. I would tell the man I want education for your daughter. Reporter: You think that would work against a gun? But I thought that words and pens are more powerful than gun. Reporter: On october 9th, 2012, she was on the school bus, like this one still being used in pakistan. The girls around her were singing. You were singing? Yes and -- also -- like considering the bus to be a drum and making just music, which -- Reporter: A handful of girls, all of their faces covered. Only one was not. On the day when I was shot, all of my friends' faces were covered, except mine. Reporter: Was that wise? It was brave, but was it wise? At that time, I was not worried about myself. I wanted to live my life as i want. Reporter: But the young girl did notice that the street was strangely quiet. I didn't see those men. I just could see, like, there's no one. Coming up a man with a gun

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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