London: Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai told world leaders that they were failing Syria's children as she spent her 18th birthday yesterday on the Syrian border.
Yosafzai, the teenager, who was shot by militants in her native Pakistan for campaigning for girls' rights, has opened a school for more than 200 Syrian girls who are living in refugee camps in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley.
The school named ‘Malala Yousafzai All-Girls School' will offer education and skills training to girls aged 14 to 18.
"I am honoured to mark my 18th birthday with the brave and inspiring girls of Syria," Yousafzai said in a statement received in London.
"I am here on behalf of the 28 million children who are kept from the classroom because of armed conflict. Their courage and dedication to continue their schooling in difficult conditions inspires people around the world and it is our duty to stand by them,” Yousafzai further said.
"On this day, I have a message for the leaders of this country, this region and the world: you are failing the Syrian people, especially Syria's children. This is a heartbreaking tragedy - the world's worst refugee crisis in decades," she added.
Lebanon is hosting nearly 1.2 million registered Syrian refugees, though the total number in the country may be even higher.
Malala was flown to Britain for treatment after the Pakistani Taliban attacked and tried to kill her in October 2012. She now lives in Britain with her family.