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How Malala Spent Her 18th Birthday

On her first day as an adult, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai made her 18th birthday less about herself and more about her cause: She opened a school for Syrian refugee girls in Lebanon.

The school, in the Bekaa Valley near the Syrian border, opened to 200 girls ages 14 to 18. Malala, who overcame an assassination attempt to continue her advocacy for girls' right to education, also called on world leaders to invest in "books not bullets."

She told Reuters she chose Lebanon, home to 1.2 million of the 4 million refugees who have fled Syria's war, for her latest girls education project as a way to give voice to displaced Syrians. Only about one-fifth of the half a million school-age children in Lebanon are in formal education, according to Reuters.

According to the U.N., Syrian refugees in neighboring countries will reach 4.27 million by the end of 2015.

Malala rose to international fame after being shot on a school bus in Pakistan three years ago. A symbol of defiance, in 2014 she became the youngest Nobel Peace prize winner for her advocacy on behalf of girls and education.

Image by Jamal Saidi /Reuters

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