Likened to a “Malala with a laptop,” Sister Zeph is an award-winning crusader for girls education and digital skills in rural Punjab, Pakistan. At the age of 13, Sister Zeph began going door-to-door to recruit students for her free open air school in her region where 52% of women were illiterate. Today she braves threats to her life and her school, called Zephaniah Free Education, provides education to hundreds of girls annually, teaching formal education, English, computer skills, business education, and sewing. Zeph attributes much of her success to the use of digital tools—from World Pulse to YouTube—which helped her inspire supporters, share success stories, and fundraise. In 2014 she was the recipient of World Pulse’s Lynn Syms Prize. In partnership with sculptor and philanthropist Lynn Syms, the prize recognizes an outstanding grassroots woman and visionary voice using digital tools to effect change. In 2015 she was also recognized by the Malala Fund and a major documentary called, “Flight of the Falcon“ was made about her life.
“Here in my part of the world women are tortured mentally and physically. Child marriage and honor killings continue to thrive and must end. I know there is only one solution to all our problems: and that is education and awareness. I want every girl to be educated, empowered and protected, and for this I will keep working throughout my life.” – Sister Zeph