Accessibility links

Breaking News

Afghan Refugee Awarded UN Prize For Teaching In Pakistan

Aqeela Asifi (R) teaches Afghan refugee and Pakistani girls at her school in Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali.

An Afghan refugee who has dedicated her life to teaching refugee girls in Pakistan has won a special prize awarded by the UN's refugee agency (UNHCR).

Aqeela Asifi, 49, left Kabul with her family in 1992 and ended up living in the remote refugee settlement of Kot Chandna in the Punjab region of Pakistan, where most girls are denied an education.

With few resources, she set up classes in a makeshift tent, challenging cultural sexism.

Today, more than 1,000 children attend permanent schools in the village, said the UNHCR, although around 80 percent of Afghan refugee children in Pakistan are still out of school.

"When you have mothers who are educated, you will almost certainly have future generations who are educated," said Asifi. "I wish for the day when people will remember Afghanistan not for war, but for its standard of education."

The Nansen Refugee Award has been won in the past by Eleanor Roosevelt and Luciano Pavarotti.

The winner receives $100,000 for project funding.

Based on reporting by Reuters