A few weeks ago, Salima Begum from Gilgit-Baltistan made it to the top ten finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2017. The Prize, a US $1 million award presented annually to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession, underlines the importance of educators and the fact that, throughout the world, their efforts deserve to be recognized and celebrated.
Salima’s journey is an exceptional one. Recently she was interviewed by the The Nation, a Pakistani newspaper, where she shared her story of being a teacher, of her work for girl’s education and empowerment, and of how she changed her community’s views on the importance of education, especially for girls. Here are some of our favorite excerpts from her interview:
Early Education and Career
“Without support of my father who fought with old traditions and society of my area, I could never have reached where I am today. My father supported me despite the financial pressures he faced. He sent me to Inter College for Women in Gilgit and during that time I had to travel for almost 2 hours everyday in two buses bought by two societies in my village.”
“When I started teaching, we used to teach two classes in one room.”
Work for Girls’ Education
“My main challenge was providing girls with education as in my region, the community believed that girls should be taught till 5th grade at the most, and after that they should be married – I had to challenge this tradition. Along with teaching science, I had to do this as my personal goal.”
“After that parents allowed their girls to continue studying after 8th grade and many girls are now working as nurses, six of them are working as teachers in the same school and some even became police officers, which not only increased their social status but also enhanced their economical stability.”
We are so proud of Salima for being such an inspiration to her community and to teachers worldwide. You can read her full interview here.