Teacher in Pakistani Refugee Camp Nominated for $1m Global Teacher Award

Aqeela Asifi has dedicated her life to teaching. Her untiring efforts in the field have been recognized and lauded universally. Her efforts for furthering the cause of education amongst the refugee population have led to her nomination for the $1 million Global Teacher Prize, under the stewardship of the Varkey Foundation.

Aqeela Asifi – From War-Displaced Refugee to Teacher

Aqeela is a 49-year old, who left Afghanistan in 1992 to seek shelter in a remote refugee camp at Kot Chandna, Punjab. Most girls in the camp were not educated and there weren’t any schools in the area, so Aqeela took it upon herself to educate the helpless girls of the refugee camp.

She set up a school in a borrowed tent and worked very hard to overcome the prevailing negative attitudes. The refugees found education of girls strange and female teachers weren’t widely encouraged. At the beginning, twenty families agreed to let their daughters study with Aqeela. She focused on teaching non-controversial subjects like personal hygiene, religious education and home management.

After some time, Aqeela convinced the refugee community to introduce Dari language, literacy, geography, history and mathematics. There were no resources for blackboards or books, so she stitched pieces of cloth with handwritten text to the tent’s walls. She wrote books by hand and asked the students to write stuff in the dust on the floor.

Fast forward to today, and there are nine schools in the camp with plenty of female teachers and over 1,500 students including 900 girls. Her efforts have also improved the environment in the community and early marriages have seen a decline. Aqeela has taught over 1000 people (Afghani and some local children), most of whom have become leading professionals in Afghanistan.

Aqeela says “If the world wants the underdeveloped countries to progress and prosper, their foremost priority should be providing access to quality education for both boys and girls.”

Last year, Aqeela Asifi was presented with UNHCR’s (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) Nansen Refugee Award. Aqeela was awarded for teaching in the Kot Chandna camp for over 20 years. A year passed, and she is now a nominee for the Global Teacher Award as well.

He is the Editor at ProPakistani.


  • Fahad J

    Aj ke zamnay main betahasha educated GIRLS hain per mujhe educated generations tau kaheen nazar nahi atten,,, balkay aggay annay wali generation tau nahayat badtameez nakara aur jahal hai.

    • KMQ

      True that, sirf education sab kuch nahi hoti. Ikhaq bhi koi cheez hoti hai..

      • Ali Mohsin

        Akhlaaq!,,… not Ikhlaq!

        • Moodi

          I pay zabar hai naa phir to akhlaaq he ho gaa :p

    • Utuy

      I agree all the educated do is Facebook and whatsapp.

  • Fahad J

    awards pe aur fazool bakwasoon pe paisay zaya kerte rehte hain qaumain yahan bhi aur wahan bhi… jo kaam kerne walay hain un main kissi ka koi rukh nahi… Stupid award stupid teacher useless education, just producing barfoons with knowledge to destroy the world.

    • KMQ

      Boss baat tu buhat karwi hai but such hai ek dam.

    • Utuy

      What? Useless education? Bhai jaan aap Internet hi is ki waja aw istamal kerte hein. Or paisa ka kiya? Mazdoori se khana pina to nahi ho sakta na!

      Proper education with good manners should bhi taught in schools tho

      • Fahad J

        hahahahhaha dude Education is not about using internet, pehlay aap yeh tau samajh looo… Educations main aim is to build a civilized society….. kitna koo civilized hai Pakistan, zara baher nikal ke dekho… aur yeh mai educated logon ki hi baat ker raha hun 4g phones aur internet waloon ki aur bari bari cars waloon ki… less privelaged ka tau ziker bhi nahi ker raha mai abhi… education ko rotay hoo… Insaniat sekho aur sekhao

    • Muhammed Ovais Alam

      Did you EVEN READ that she’s giving FREE education for years?

      • Fahad J

        Dude i can read, but the most important part of education is Character development, society discipline, civilization, which i do not see anywhere in Pakistan, our beloved country of Islam. Where is Islam? i do not see, i see everyone at every level trying to get away with shit or get things done…. You think education will fix this, dude i have seen people throwing out garbage from cars with stickers of American Universities on the back. There is not such things as Patience in our country, everyone is in a hurry and they would run you over without even bothering to look back. People are driving a 150 km/h in 45 km/h zone. Where is the education????? bro you thoughts are naive, you have no idea how nations are built, they are not built on stupid education and turning out baboons and donkeys with knowledge and the only thing they learn Server and Earn Money. Education = Money…. Doctors do not give a shit about your patient, until you show them money first…. they don’t care if you die, they are on strike with full makeup and sun glasses. Women every where with no shame, men with no shame, concerts , dances and what not…. No respect for religion… the Islam of Halwa molvis and false mullas is ruling Pakistanis dead minds. I can write a thousand pages…. but the thing is no one is ready to listen… Focus is only MONEY that’s it and hence the stupid rewards.

    • Black Pearl

      pathetic.. tm ne aj tak kitne logon ko educate kiya ha aaj tak easy?
      khud kuch krna nahi ha bus comenting kr ha aur ye dikhana ha k tum jahil hho parhay likhay? tum kis bases pe teacher ko stupid keh rahay ho?? ye hai tumhari taleem tumhary ethics? remeber ager koi tumhra teacher na hota to tu aaaj yahan bhi na hota

  • Muhammed Ovais Alam

    My thoughts are naive? Are you sure about that? May I know how you judge people?
    I agree to most of the parts of your ranting.
    I called it ranting because I am seeing all this sh*t from childhood and every politicians I ever see don’t want to change anything.

    • Fahad J

      Ok Rant detector … congratulations on your new job… when did you stop detecting metal lol…… if you cant judge base on information how can you separate right from wrong, can you pls explain or should we just shove something down our throat stay quiet and keep getting F***** waiting from a sing from GOD or a messiah to save us…. Khuda ne aaj tak us qaum ki halat nahi badli, keh nah ho jissay khayal aap apni halat ke badalnay ka…. qaum ka naam Pakistani , unfortunately….

      • Muhammed Ovais Alam

        Wise guy, what should we do to change the system?

        • Fahad J

          pray to Allah and fix ourselves, list down our bad habbits and get rid of them one by one, but ek addat jo iss porri qaum mai hai aur woh tabah ker dene wali addat hai woh hai Jhooot…. lekin koi manta nahi keh woh jhooot bolta hai….is qaum ke baray dilemmas hain….