Two Indians among 7 girls winning first 'Malala Award'

Two Indians were among seven girls awarded the United Nations' first 'Malala Award' today.

The UN Special Envoy for Global Education's Youth Courage Award for Education, as it is officially called, is part of the 'Malala Day' celebrations at the world body.

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by Pakistani Taliban merely because she went to school, gave away the awards at the UN headquarters in New York.

The special awards were given to seven young girls from around the world for their courage and achievement to promote the cause of girl's education and dignity of women.

The two Indians among them were 21-year-old Ashwini from Bangalore and 15-year-old Razia Sultan from Uttar Pradesh.

Malala's Pakistani friend Shazia, who was hurt when Taliban shot Malala last year, was also awarded, along with girls from Bangladesh, Nepal, Morocco and Sierra Leone.

One of the winners Ashwini was awarded for fighting against odds to study, then using that education to campaign for other children with disabilities and to enable them to achieve the education they deserve.

Another awardee Razia was feted for her contribution to education of children. She is a former child labourer who stitched footballs, struggled and succeeded to pull herself from exploitation to education.

She passed her 11th grade against all odds and now works in her community to help withdraw children from work, and enrol them in schools.

Razia helped 48 children in her community last year to get out of work and join a school.

Over 500 youngsters, mostly young girl leaders from around the world, convened at the UN to support Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's 'Global Education First Initiative' and its goals to ensure that all children, especially girls, are in school and learning by 2015.

Young delegates from around the world cheered Malala, who celebrated her 16th birthday and is now the face of child's right to education.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon named Malala's 16th birthday 'Malala Day' in honour of her heroic stand to ensure education for all.