Three months after she was shot in the head for daring to say girls should be able to get an education, Malala Yousufzai walked out of a Birmingham hospital Thursday.
Fifteen-year-old Malala will live with her parents and two brothers in Britain while she continues to receive treatment. She will be admitted again in the next month for another surgery to rebuild her skull.
"She is quite well and happy on returning home—as we all are," said Malala's father, Ziauddin.
Experts have been optimistic that Malala, who was airlifted from Pakistan in October to receive specialized medical care, has a good chance of recovery because the brains of teenagers are still growing and can better adapt to trauma.
"Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery," said Dr. Dave Rosser, the medical director for University Hospitals Birmingham. "Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers."
The Taliban targeted Malala because of her advocacy for girls’ education, which the Taliban forbids. Militants stopped the school van Malala was on Oct. 9, and shot her in the head and neck. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.
Pakistani doctors removed a bullet that entered her head and traveled toward her spine before Malala's family decided to send her to Britain for specialized treatment. Pakistan is paying her medical bills.
The militants threatened to target Malala again if she survived, saying she promotes "Western thinking." Interior Minister Rehman Malik promised government protection if she returns to Pakistan.
But Malala likely will remain in Britain for some time. Pakistan appointed Malala's father as its education attache in Birmingham for at least three years.
Hospital authorities say Malala can read and speak, but cited patient confidentiality when asked whether she is well enough to continue her education in Britain.
Malala's father vowed to return to Pakistan with his family once Malala is fully recovered.
"I thank the whole of Pakistan and all other well-wishers for praying for her and our family," he said. "What I am doing here is all temporary, and God willing we all will return to our homeland."