Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai announced Wednesday that she is donating $50,000 to rebuild schools in Gaza.
The amount represents the full proceeds of the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, sometimes called the "Children's Nobel," which the 17-year-old education activist was awarded in Sweden on Wednesday.
Nearly two million children voted to give the award to Malala, as she is widely known, for her perilous activism for girls' education rights. She is the first person to win the Nobel Peace Prize and World’s Children’s Prize in the same year.
"I am donating these funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), which is performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances," she said.
"The needs are overwhelming—more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future," she added.
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"This funding will help rebuild the 83 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long," she said.
Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, said that his agency was "deeply touched" by her decision.
The donation and recognition "will lift the spirits of a quarter of a million UNRWA students in Gaza and boost the morale of our more than 9,000 teaching staff there. Their suffering during the fighting was devastating and your kindness will do much to ease the pain of recent months," Krähenbühl stated.
Israel's assault on Gaza this summer killed 12 UNRWA staff members as well as over 500 Palestinian children. Over 90 schools were used as shelters, and 80 were damaged. On seven occasions during the violence, UNRWA schools used as shelters were hit with munitions, which the agency called "an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame."