About Sister Zeph
Human rights activist, teacher and more
I was a very, very naughty child in my growing years. But I was also a leader at school – very sure of what I wanted to do. You see, I had plans of becoming a lawyer. I was thirteen when my first article on Women’s Rights appeared in a very famous newspaper in Pakistan, called Jung. I was always a dreamer and wanted to fly real high. My lifestyle, though, was a different one – though I had everything everyone else did, I always wanted to explore everything that was different.
My mother, like every mother in my country, used to tell me that one day, I would get married. This was what I was brought up on. I remember having always thought to myself, “No! God has not sent me in this world only to get married!”
I was sure I had to do much more in life. My heart always told me that it wasn’t so.
As a child, I was very sensitive. In the course of my growing years, one incident changed my life forever – I left my school when I was in Grade Seven. What’s different about that? I decided never go back to that school again. I was so humiliated by what happened. One day while at school, I delivered a speech to my class, acting like a teacher. I was standing on the teacher’s chair. When our teacher came into class, she lost her temper and started beating me for my little tirade, in front of my classmates. She abused me and all the other girls made fun of me. I was just crying and crying, I was hurt mentally and psychologically. This was not the right way to teach a child who was just being a child.
In my state of mind then, I just surprised them all by leaving school then and there – and all at once, my life changed. All my dreams were over. While my parents tried to force me to join other schools, I stayed staunch and simply did not give in. But I never stopped studying. I started my own studies in the comfort of my home, privately. I taught myself – I never took any tuitions. Along with this, I decided to teach other girls – but with respect, love and care that I was not given in my school. I volunteered to have girls over – I started making home visits in my village. I made pamphlets to distribute among people. I told everyone that it will be free education. I walked even further, and went to tell people about my school in the nearby villages to convince them to send their girls. I told them that I would teach them English for free.
I started visiting people with my mother on every Sunday, but no one was ready at first.
It was funny for the people around me – no one trusted me and no one was ready to join my school because I was just 13 years old. But I kept going simply because I did not want any child to experience what had happened to me. I decided that I would never use a stick in my school, and that I would make education interesting for the children.
In the beginning, there was only one student, I started it in open air. When I started, there was no pen, no notebook and I only had a few books. In the summer, we would sit under the sun, in winter we would sit under blankets made as tents. When it rains, we would have a leave from school. Our roof was the sky. Our limit was the sky.
At sixteen, I did my matriculation after training myself for it. I started a job as a receptionist in a telecom franchise, where I was being paid $15 a month. This was the amount I started using to buy stationery and other supplies for my school. Since then, I have continued working. I did my Master’s degree in Political science in 2010, and another Master’s degree in history in 2013. All this education, I continue to pursue without any institution’s help or the involvement of any teacher.
Up until now, I have taught thousands of girls and empowered even more. Along with teaching girls and myself I have been the Administrator of the World Wide Women‘s Community Page, a Woman’s Education & Empowerment Activist , Writer, Speaker, Teacher and aspiring Entrepreneur. I write blogs for a few websites on women’s issues in my part of the world. I am still studying. I am learning journalism from World Pulse and World Wide Women. I produce theatrical info-dramas in my community to give them messages of peace and respect for women, and on the importance of education.
“We belong to a society where women do not have a right to say anything for their rights. They cannot give an opinion on anything in the house. They cannot make a decision on their own even, so they have so much to say and to tell the world. But they do not get an opportunity to describe their feelings, their thoughts and pains. Thanks to World Pulse which has not only given this right to Zeph Girls but to women of the entire world to share their stories online and be heard. We salute World Pulse for creating such an amazing platform for us”-Sister Zeph
My support system is my family, Malee Kenworthy from USA (the development director of our organization), Debra, Ellen, Theresa and all my friends on social media (and countless others that have given over the years), they give me support to carry on. Of course, my very kind and loving friends all over the world give me opportunities to explore options and ideas. In Pakistan we need to work on improving education for millions of children and young women. This is just the beginning of my work.
Here in my part of the world, women have to suffer all their life. They are tortured mentally and physically. They are not given education. They are not empowered. Child marriage and honor killings continue to thrive, and needs to be put to an end. When I look at the condition and helplessness of many women around me, it gives me the spirit to go ahead, to never stop, and to just keep going. 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.
I have been writing about my culture, education, women's rights, children's rights, my struggles, achievements and more for many years. You can read my blogs below and more at the page "BLOGS"
World Wide Women Facebook Comments
By Malee Kenworthy January 2018 In March of 2015 I serendipitously met one of the most amazing and inspirational women of my life. She goes by Sister Zeph. Sister Zeph lives in Punjab, Pakistan where women and girls have historically been prevented from education because their place has long thought to have been in the home. Sister Zeph is changing all of that one life at time and despite being attacked and shot at a
Sister Zeph Posted July 30, 2018 from Pakistan South Asia had been under rule of other nations for hundreds of years whenever a new nation came to rule us they made their own rules, they implemented their own religion on us, they promoted their own culture and forced our ancestors to follow them. Our people were nothing but just slaves for centuries, they had no say in anything, and they had to follow what they
Sister Zeph Posted June 30, 2018 from Pakistan This is my 9 years old student Meerab who has to take care of her four younger siblings, she cooks food, gives them shower, cleans house, washes clothes and comes to school every day. Her youngest sister is ½ year old and her mother is expecting another child in a few days she is giving birth to so many daughters because she wants to have another son
Sister Zeph Posted December 18, 2017 from Pakistan At Zeph Education where we not only give formal education to our students but we teach them many skills along with self-defense techniques and English language we have over 206 students and just a few of them are Christians our goal is not only to educate girls but to bring religious harmony among people too because we belong to a culture where people live for religion and
Sister Zeph Posted October 24, 2017 from Pakistan Each person has someone to be thankful for their support, love and care in the time when he/ she was feeling alone, saw no hope in life, wanted to give up, lost courage and found no reason to be alive. I also met people in my life who played a vital role to make me what I am today, every day I feel so thankful for my