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Human Rights Group, Plan USA, Calls Malala Yousafzai A Beacon Of Hope

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -  Malala Yousafzai, the 17-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for daring to want an education, learned she had become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate ever Friday while attending classes at Edgbaston High School for girls in Birmingham, the city in central England that she now calls home.

The teenager had traveled to Birmingham for medical treatment after being targeted by the Taliban for standing up to the group's hard-line interpretation of Islam that limits girls' access to education. She was shot while returning home from school in Pakistan's volatile Swat Valley two years ago, almost to the day.

The honor given to the teen coincides with the International Day of the Girl.

Human Rights Group Calls Malala Yousafzai A Beacon Of Hope

Sunana, a teen from Pakistan in New York to mark the event, calls it monumental.

"Girls got distinction when she got the prize in this society. They have the right, they are rising," she told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond.

As 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported, a man who listened to Malala's speech at a restaurant on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn said he comes from the same region as the laureate.

"In the mountain area, there is no education, so I'm proud that she's from there and she's doing very good," he said.

Human Rights Group Calls Malala Yousafzai A Beacon Of Hope

The human rights group Plan USA estimates 65 million girls are denied a proper education.

Spokeswoman Robin Costello says Malala has been a beacon of hope.

"Part of the whole issue is to start a dialogue and to let people know that this is really a problem globally, and I think Malala is doing that. She's opening up a dialogue and she's living it," Costello said.

Yousafzai will share the prize with Kailash Satyarthi of India, 60, who has spent a lifetime standing up against child slavery and exploitation.

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