Sister Zeph accepted her Global Teacher Award on Thursday at a ceremony that took place at UNESCO's General Conference in Paris. (Image © UNESCO/Marie Etchegoyen)
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Pakistani Teacher Wins $1mln Global Teacher Prize

Pakistani teacher Sister Zeph has been named the winner of this year’s One Million US Dollars Global Teacher Prize.

Sister Zeph was 13 when she founded her own school in the courtyard of her home for children whose parents cannot pay fees.

She worked eight-hour days to fund the school, then taught students for another four hours, and then stayed up at night teaching herself.

Twenty-six years later, the school, now housed in a brand-new building, provides free education for more than 200 underprivileged children.

From a young age, she faced adversity and emerged as a beacon of hope for underprivileged children in her wider community.

Many of her students from humble backgrounds have gone to work for her education and empowerment foundation while others have gone on to very successful professional careers.

As well as running the school, she runs self-defense classes for girls, having herself been attacked and threatened.

She also provides financial assistance to families choosing between educating their children and paying their bills, and runs a vocational center that has helped more than 6,000 women gain skills in ICT, textiles, and the English language.

Her dedication to education and empowerment has earned her numerous awards, recognizing her as a true change-maker and advocate for women’s rights and children’s education around the world.

This week, Sister Zeph was announced as the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Award – organized in collaboration with UNESCO and Dubai Cares, a UAE-based philanthropic organization.

Now in its eighth year, the USD 1 million Global Teacher Prize is the largest prize of its kind.

Sister Zeph accepted her Global Teacher Award on Thursday at a ceremony that took place at UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris.

With the Prize funds, Sister Zeph plans to build a school on 10 acres where children from the poorest families in the country can be educated without discrimination.