‘It felt as if we had landed on the moon’: Malala Yousafzai on life in the UK

In this extract from We Are Displaced, a collection of true stories by girls seeking refuge, Yousafzai recalls settling in Birmingham after being shot by the TalibanAs I walked out of the hospital to start my new life – nearly three months after I was airlifted to England from Pakistan to save my life – the first thing I felt was a cold that cut through the purple parka someone had given me. It was two sizes too big, and I felt like a small doll. The frigid air crept down my neck and up my sleeves and penetrated my bones. I thought I would never warm up. The grey skies cast a subdued, almost gloomy effect on the white snow dusting the ground. I felt a deep longing for the warmth and sunshine of home.We drove through Birmingham’s streets to the high-rise building where my parents had moved after spending several weeks in a hotel. Birmingham’s busy-ness reminded me a bit of Islamabad, although the skyscrapers here were so tall you got dizzy looking up at them. Some buildings lit up with neon signs that pulsed a rainbow of colours, while others looked as if they had been wrapped in tinfoil or shingled with mirrors. Continue reading…

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