Leader Spotlight: Sister Zeph of Zephaniah Women's Education and Empowerment Foundation

Q: Where do you live?

A. I am from and live in Pakistan

Q: Tell us about your organization.

A. We are working in rural Pakistan, the land where it is prohibited for girls to have their dreams. Women suffer all of their lives because they believe that if they obey the men of their family they will go to heaven after they will die, no matter whatever those men demand them to do.

Most girls are still not allowed to get an education -- men do not allow women to go out and work, they beat them, insult them, abuse them, control them, force them into child marriage and kill them.

In the slums of our country my organization is giving free education and skills training to women so that they can earn money and support themselves and their families.

We fight for their rights; we help them to get medical help if they get sick, we help burn victims to get free treatment, we give twelve years of free education to 200 students, and we teach free skills to 400 women annually.

Our students are college and university students, teachers, nurses, administrators, tailors, beauticians, or have their own small business. They know their rights and have the courage to speak for themselves and their fellow women.

Q: What is the one piece of advice you would like to share with other women looking to start an organization?

A. If you are not satisfied in your life and you feel less successful, this is a sign that you have not yet recognized your real goal in life. So know your goal and then do not look here and there, be focused and remember that challenges are your real friends, real opportunities, real inspiration to work harder and to make your dreams come true. Never be afraid of the challenges, but welcome them in your life so that they can bring you to another level by overcoming them.

Q: How can WorldWideWomen readers get involved in what you are doing?

A. We are working on grass root levels therefore we have less resources and more problems to be solved, so we need not only donors, but also those who can spread our word and share our story to the world. Members can join us through social media on our website.

Q: Who is the greatest female influence in your life?

A. Mother Theresa

Q: Please share with us something that you want other women around the world to hear.

A. I was almost two years old when my uncle tried to kill me because I was one of four sisters and he thought this was a big burden on the family. I saw my mother being beaten for giving birth to four daughters and three of my students killed by their families in the name of honor. People do not provide education or enough food and facilities to girls because they think girls are a burden. Even mothers do not want to have daughters, because sons achieve a better position in the family.

I decided to devote my life to the girls and women of our world because women are still suffering greatly. Hats off to all my sisters around the world who are working hard to support women, but there is still there is a lot of work to do. We have to take a stand for each other, we have to reach in each corner of the world to help our sisters and work together until we reach our goal of equality for each and every woman on the planet.

Q: What do you feel is your greatest achievement?

A. As an educationist and human rights activist I have saved hundreds of lives over two decades. But, saving Meerab’s life was my biggest achievement. This is my 9 year old student who takes care of her four younger siblings because her parents have to work.

She was on summer vacation in 2018 when her clothes caught fire while she was heating up lunches, resulting in third degree burns. Instead of taking her to the hospital, kept her parents kept her locked in a room for a month, to die because she is a girl.

When I saw blood and puss coming out of her wounds, I brought her to the hospital. After 4 months of treatment and multiple surgeries she survived and now she is back to school during annual exams - in 2019 she has taken 1st position.

Connect with Sister Zeph and Zephaniah Women's Education and Empowerment Foundation through her Facebook page!

Donate to help bus 500 girls to the Girls' Festival!