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Malala’s surprise visit to refugee students

The Pakistani education activist inspired students on a visit to Holroyd High School.

A man and young woman stand facing three girls who have their face turned away from the camera

Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai talk with students from Holroyd High School.

Students at Holroyd High School were shocked when Malala Yousafzai walked into the school library. They had no idea that the Nobel Peace Prize winner was visiting the school on Thursday afternoon.

Holroyd’s Head Teacher Refugee Support Louise Kleinbergs said students were surprised.

“Their eyes just lit up, one of the girl’s jaws dropped,” Miss Kleinbergs said.

“There wasn’t any screaming, but they were in awe.”

Malala took time to speak with a group refugee girls at the school in south-western Sydney. Holroyd High principal Kylie Adams said the students asked her about her experiences and trauma.

Miss Kleinbergs said the students were inspired by Malala’s story and her resilience through the challenges she faced.

“One wanted to know about how she felt about going back home to Pakistan recently. It was a conversation about how you feel connected to your country.”

Two-thirds of students at Holroyd High School come from a refugee background, with one in three having lived in Australia for less than three years.

Malala fled Pakistan after being shot by the Taliban while advocating for girls’ education rights.

Ms Adams said that Malala’s courage and resilience, as well as her current study at Oxford University, inspired the students. “It gives them a sense of hope,” she said.

Malala and her father, Ziauddin, also sat in on a STEM class at the school.

“She was impressed the girls had a sense of vision, and she spoke about the empowerment that comes through education.”

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