I had amassed a lot of money by the end of that year – half a million rupees each from the prime minister, the chief minister of Punjab, the chief minister of our state Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Sindh government.
Major General Ghulam Qamar, the local army commander, also gave our school 100,000 rupees to build a science laboratory and a library.
But my fight wasn't over. I was reminded of our history lessons, in which we learned about the loot or bounty an army enjoys when a battle is won.
I began to see the awards and recognition just like that. They were little jewels without much meaning.
I needed to concentrate on winning the war.
My father used some of the money to buy me a new bed and cabinet and pay for tooth implants for my mother and a piece of land in Shangla.
We decided to spend the rest of the money on people who needed help.
I wanted to start an education foundation.
This had been on my mind ever since I'd seen the children working on the rubbish mountain.
I still could not shake the image of the black rats I had seen there, and the girl with matted hair who had been sorting rubbish.
We held a conference of twenty-one girls and made our priority education for every girl in Swat with a particular focus on street children and those in child labour.
As we crossed the Malakand Pass I saw a young girl selling oranges.
She was scratching marks on a piece of paper with a pencil to account for the oranges she had sold as she could not read or write.
I took a photo of her and vowed I would do everything in my power to help educate girls just like her.
This was the war I was going to fight.