Humaira is an advocate for girls’ education and for interactive teaching styles in Pakistan. She is the first female child in her family to be educated, and suffered opposition and abuse from community elders and her own father because of this.
When she was 10 years old, she was shocked when her infant cousin died because the child’s illiterate mother had not been able to read the expiry date on his fever medicine. This is what spurred her to a mission of literacy for girls. At the age of 12, still a student herself, she started classes for impoverished children in her neighbourhood. At that time she and her little sister had to knock on doors and convince parents of the benefits of education. Today, a decade later, there are 1,200 students enrolled at their Dream Model Street School on the outskirts of Karachi.
Instead of the passive rote approach that is standard in government schools in Pakistan, Humaira applies interactive teaching methods. Her students learn through discovery, research and inquiry, use everyday items to visualise mathematical concepts, and visit companies and farms in the vicinity. She has also introduced e-learning in the primary and secondary classes.
Her innovative practices and teaching philosophy earned the Dream Model Street School the runner-up place for Pakistan in the Education For All category of the World Summit Youth Award in 2011.
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