Pakistani 18-year-old Malala Yousafzai—who was shot in the head by the Taliban when she was 14—has successfully turned a personal tragedy into a lucrative business, but not without criticism from the public.
According to a report released Wednesday, the Yousafzai family have become millionaires from the sales of Malala’s memoir and public speaking fees. The Institute for Policy Studies in D.C. reports that she charges $152,000 per speech.
While Malala is known as being the youngest Nobel Prize winner and founder of the Malala Fund, her family also owns a London-based company Salarzai Ltd., established in 2013.
The company handles the sales of her book “I am Malala” as well as the copyrights to her life story. Her memoir has a total value of $3 million and has sold almost 2 million copies worldwide.
Salarzai Ltd. is publically known to be worth $2.5 million as of August 2015, which shows a 65 percent growth from the year prior. Yousafzai is a joint shareholder in the company along with her father Ziauddin Yousafzai and mother Toor Pekai.
As journalist Omar Quraishi noted on Twitter, her rising economic status won’t find her many new fans among those who already believe conspiracy theories about her.
Some believe that she wasn’t actually shot in the first place, while others argue she is a Western puppet figure. Critics also say she should be giving more back to girls’ education in Pakistan.
Malala has proved that anyone can become millionaire by just eating a bullet & then barking against own country & its armed forces.— Faris Ali Khan (@FarisAliKhan2) June 29, 2016
So #Malala is a millionaire thanks to TTP. And I'm stuck here trying to get a paid internship— Saman Rukh Khan (@samanrukhkhan) June 29, 2016
I'm proud of myself for never supporting the 'cause' of Malala, who's now a millionaire, while Swat has no school with quality education!— Ayesha (@ayeshah197) June 29, 2016
#Malala is now a millionaire for taking a fake bullet to her head.— Zaid Hamid (@SirZaidHamid) June 29, 2016
What about those poor soldiers who take bullet to their heart?
As if attempting to ameliorate the anticipated backlash, the Yousafzai family stated to the Thomson Reuters Foundation today that they have donated more than $1 million to charities "mostly for education-focused projects across the world including Pakistan."
It is shameful that as a young woman who has been chased out of her own country by religious militants, Yousafzai has to endure such negative repercussions from trolls. She has no obligation to give anything back to Pakistan for any reason, and the fact that she has should be applauded, not minimized.
#Malala— Shahzad Khan (@imshehzaad) June 29, 2016
She wrote a book and it was a hit !! She is millionaire now and Jealous Loser Pakistani's are bashing her for this !
Photo credit: Reuters