'Pakistan's Anne Frank' honoured for her courage

By Rosa Doherty, February 13, 2014
Naomie Harris with Ziauddin Yousafzai

Naomie Harris with Ziauddin Yousafzai

An award to a teenage Pakistani girl the Taliban tried to assassinate for promoting women's education was the highlight of the Anne Frank Trust Holocaust Memorial Day lunch, which raised £400,000.

Malala Yousafzai's moral courage award was accepted by her father Ziauddin from Hollywood star Naomie Harris. Addressing the 400 guests at the West End event, he said that "Malala is Pakistan's Anne Frank and I believe together we can fight fascists. Where there is a Hitler there is an Anne Frank and Malala with a voice for humanity. What happened to Anne Frank is still happening and has been happening to my people for 30 years.

"Anne Frank died in a concentration camp and Malala was almost killed at 15 for what she believed in. I dedicate this award to the martyrs of all genocides."

Ms Harris said afterwards that "Malala's determination to fight for the right for women to be educated is inspiring. When I saw Malala speak to the United Nations last year, I was speechless. For a child her age to be so full of passion and bravery is something else."

Staff and pupils involved in the trust's education programme spoke about the importance of keeping the story of Anne Frank alive. Esther Olusanya, who attends Kingsford Community School in east London, has gone on to teach younger students as an ambassador for the charity.

"Because of the programme, I work towards embodying Anne Frank, her values and her message. Learning about her life makes me feel like I, too, can go out there and make a difference."

Trust executive director Gillian Walnes told diners: "Our education programme is so important in teaching young people the values and lessons Anne left behind. We do it all on a budget of just £1 million, so what you give today is crucial in securing the continuation of our great work."

Candles were lit to remember genocide and knife crime victims.

Last updated: 1:44pm, February 13 2014