Malala Yousufzai issues first video statement since Taliban shooting

Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban in October, used the video time to promote the recently launched Malala Fund, which will support the right to education.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital, File/AP
In this undated file photo provided by Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old girl who was shot at close range in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan, reads a book as she continues her recovery at the hospital.

A Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban has made her first video statement since she was nearly killed, saying Monday that she is recovering.

Speaking clearly but with the left side of her face appearing rigid, 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai said she is "getting better, day by day."

"Today you can see that I am alive. I can speak, I can see you, I can see everyone," she said in the video, made available by a public relations firm. "It's just because of the prayers of people. Because all people — men, women, children — all of them have prayed for me. And because of all these prayers God has given me this new life . a second life. And I want to serve. I want to serve the people. I want every girl, every child, to be educated. For that reason, we have organized the Malala Fund."

Malala drew the world's attention when she was shot by Taliban militants on Oct. 9 on a school bus in northwestern Pakistan. The Islamist group said it targeted her because she promoted girls' education and "Western thinking" and criticized the militant group's behavior when it took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived.

The shooting sparked outrage in Pakistan and many other countries, and her story has captured global attention for the struggle for women's rights in her homeland.

In a sign of her impact, the teen made the shortlist for Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2012.

Malala was airlifted to Britain from Pakistan in October to receive specialized medical care and protection against further Taliban threats. She is expected to remain in the UK for some time as her father, Ziauddin, has received a diplomatic post based in the English city of Birmingham.

The video statement was published Monday, hours after Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said it had successfully operated to reconstruct her skull and restore her hearing. But the public relations firm Edelman said the video was shot on Jan. 22.

The Malala Fund is a girls' education charity set up in late 2012. It was launched with a $10 million donation from Pakistan.

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