MINGORA, Pakistan — Pakistan’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai returned to her hometown Saturday for the first time since receiving a gunshot wound to the head there in 2012 for her work as an advocate for young women’s education.

Yousafzai and her family arrived in a helicopter provided by the Pakistani military, which took her to the town of Mingora in the Swat Valley from Islamabad. She had arrived in the capital before dawn on Thursday flanked by heavy security and plans to return to Britain on Monday.

Yousafzai, 20, won international renown after she was shot by the Taliban in Mingora. She received initial treatment in Pakistan and later was taken to England for further care. She stayed on in the United Kingdom to continue her education and in 2014 became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Yousafzai entered her childhood home Saturday accompanied by her father, mother and brother. She sobbed upon entering the home where relatives, former classmates and friends had been gathered since morning to welcome her with flowers and hugs.

Youzafzai said she waited for the moment for more than five years and said she often looked at Pakistan on the map, hoping one day to return. She said she plans to permanently return to Pakistan after completing her studies in Britain.

“It is still like a dream for me, am I among you? Is it a dream or reality?” she said.

Yousafzai later returned to Islamabad, where she met with human rights activists.

Arooj Bibi, a neighbor, said she was happy to meet with Youzafzai, but was sad because her visit was so brief. Bibi said Yousafzai “lit the candle of education. God willing, there will be thousands of girls like Malala getting an education” in Swat.

Yousafzai also attended a gathering at the army’s Cadet College in Swat. The Pakistani Taliban led by Mullah Fazlullah had taken over the scenic valley in 2007; the Pakistani military later evicted the militants from the valley.

Security had been visibly beefed up in Mingora the previous day – the Pakistani Taliban had warned after the attack on the then-14-year-old that they would target her again if they got the chance.

Yousafzai had asked authorities to allow her to go to Mingora and Shangla village in the Swat Valley, where a school has been built by her Malala Fund.

In October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban militant who jumped inside her school van and yelled, “Who is Malala?” She was targeted for speaking out on education for young women.