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Malala Yousafzai Surprises IJM Kenya Staff with Visit

Pakistani activist and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai visited IJM’s office in Kenya on Wednesday and offered her condolences following the murders of an IJM investigator, client, and hired taxi driver.

“We salute your bravery, and I hope you never lose hope,” Yousafzai said to a standing-room-only crowd at IJM’s office in Nairobi, moments after they learned of her surprise arrival. “The call to fight for justice is the same in every country.”

The visit was part of a multi-day trip to Kenya by Yousafzai. She and her father are co-founders of the Malala Fund, a foundation that focuses on securing primary and secondary education for girls in the global south.

Yousafzai, 19, is a prominent advocate for female education and the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She began speaking out for equal education in Pakistan when she was 12, raising awareness through an anonymous blog she published while living under the Taliban regime. In 2012, she was attacked for her views and survived a critical gunshot wound.

No stranger to violent oppression, Yousafzai met with IJM staff to comfort and encourage them in the fight against violent oppression. She was moved by the tragic loss of lawyer and IJM investigator Willie Kimani, IJM client Josephat Mwenda, and taxi driver Joseph Muiruri, all of whom disappeared on June 23 and were found dead a week later.

“It’s really hard when the institutions who are supposed to protect you, who are supposed to take care of you, and who are responsible for the right of your honor and life and property—to protect it—when they are doubted,” said Ziauddin Yousafzai, Malala’s father and constant travel companion, who also spoke with IJM staff. “In such circumstances, organizations like IJM are very important because they are the voice of the people. We have to stand against any type of extremism or terrorism, from any organization, in any form.”

Four Kenyan police officers have been arrested so far in connection with the murders as the investigation continues.

To learn more, please visit our Justice in Kenya page.

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