Print

Afghan refugee teacher honoured with UN award for tireless efforts to educate girls

16 September 2015
Afghan refugee teacher honoured with UN award for tireless efforts to educate girls

Afghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi, who has dedicated her life to bringing education to refugee girls in Pakistan, has been named as the winner of the United Nations annual Nansen Award.

The 49-year-old is being recognised for her «brave and tireless» dedication to education for Afghan refugee girls in the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali, Pakistan — while herself overcoming the struggles of life in exile, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The agency added that despite minimal resources and significant cultural challenges, Ms. Asifi has guided a thousand refugee girls through their primary education.

"Access to quality and safe education helps children grow into adults who go on to secure jobs, start businesses and help build their communities — and it makes them less vulnerable to exploitation and abuse," High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said in a news release.

"Investing in refugee education will allow children to play a part in breaking the cycle of instability and conflict. People like Aqeela Asifi understand that today’s refugee children will determine the future of their countries, and the future of our world."

Ms. Asifi is a former teacher who fled from Kabul with her family in 1992, finding safety in the remote refugee settlement of Kot Chandana. She was dismayed by the lack of schooling for girls there, according to UNHCR, which noted that before she arrived, strict cultural traditions kept most girls at home.

Determined to give these girls a chance to learn, Ms. Asifi slowly convinced the community, and began teaching just a handful of pupils in a makeshift school tent. She copied out worksheets for the students by hand on sheets of paper. Today the tent school is a distant memory and over a thousand children are attending permanent schools in the village thanks to her early example.

Adapted from the UN website

Photo: UN

World news
High Commissioner addressed the Red Cross to help the Russian servicemen

High Commissioner addressed the Red Cross to help the Russian servicemen

04 March 2022
High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova appealed to the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer, and the head of the mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukraine Florence Gillette in defense of the rights of the Russian military personnel captured in Ukraine, with a request to assist in establishing their location…

High Commissioner addressed the international community in defense of the rights of Russian servicemen captured in Ukraine

03 March 2022
High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation addressed United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Michelle Bachelet, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Mr. Zbigniew Rau, OSCE Secretary General Ms. Helga Maria Schmid, Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Mr. Matteo Mecacci, Secretary General of the…
Russian Commissioner addressed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Russian Commissioner addressed the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

02 March 2022
Your Excellency, I hereby present my compliments to you. I am writing to express my deep disturbance at the increasing number and severity of provocations by the Ukrainian troops who purposefully involve civilian population into military operations. A range of evidence are coming from the city of Mariupol, where, according to available information, the Ukrainian military bring in the civilian population to the «Azov-Steel» plant, who…
World news