Sister Zeph

Sister Zeph is a Globally recognized distinguished expert in education, women’s empowerment, human rights, interfaith harmony and climate change. A dedicated advocate for children’s rights, a published author, an internationally recognized speaker, and a respected community leader. In November of 2023 she won the Global Teacher Prize in recognition to her dedication to empowerment and education.  She serves as the Founder and CEO of the Zephaniah Women’s Education and Empowerment Foundation (ZWEE) and holds the position of CEO at Evaz Ethical clothing brand. Z Foundation Global, A US Based non profit, was created and named in her honor and her school, ZWEE. 

In recognition of her exceptional contributions and unwavering dedication to uplifting marginalized communities, Sister Zeph has received numerous other prestigious awards, including the Outstanding Performance Award from the Eternal Life Ministry of Pakistan International and the Bioneers Change Makers Award from the USA. Her outstanding work also garnered her the Lynn Syms Global Prize from World Pulse, leading to the production of the documentary film “Flight of the Falcons,” which received a Gold Medal at the New York Film Festival in 2016. Additionally, she was honored with a Gold Medal as a Book of Humanity by Kar-E-Khair Pakistan in 2021 and an Excellent Performance Award from Victory Church of Pakistan in the same year.

Sister Zeph is a co-author of three bestselling books available on Amazon, aimed at inspiring individuals to lead, defy conventions, and rise in pursuit of empowerment.

Education-wise, Sister Zeph earned two Master’s degrees from the University of Punjab, Pakistan, one in History and the other in Political Science. Her global engagement extends to representing Pakistan at the Asian Ecumenical Women’s Assembly in Taiwan in 2019 and the 14th Advisory Group Meeting in Oman in 2022, where she collaborated with 78 Network Members from 63 different organizations worldwide to shape the Network’s Strategy for 2020-2025.

Sister Zeph is an alumna of the Swedish Institute of Sweden, having completed a cross-cultural program sponsored by Ifa, a project of the Federal Government of Germany. She is also a graduate of the Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers and serves as a member of the Inclusivity Steering Committee at The Network for Religious and Traditional Peacemakers.

Her commitment to social causes is further exemplified by her roles as a World Pulse Ambassador in 2019 and 2020 and as an ambassador for the World Literacy Foundation of Australia in 2021. Sister Zeph also successfully completed an Interfaith Fellowship Program in Thailand through the Network for Religious and Traditional Peace Makers from 2019 to 2021, generously funded by the European Union.

Her dedication to personal and professional growth is evident through her completion of training programs such as Civic and Citizenship Education in a Digital World delivered by Thomson Media in partnership with the Jordan Media Institute in 2021, as well as the Community Building and Developing Interreligious Dialogue Program in Belgrade, Serbia, organized by Kaiciid in the same year. In 2021, she also accomplished the Remote Team Accelerator training at the Swedish Institute of Sweden.

Sister Zeph received an appreciation letter from US Aid and Faiths4Vanninces in 2022 for her exemplary leadership and unwavering commitment to her community during the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery efforts.

Furthermore, she is an alumna of the Asian Center for Women’s Studies at EWHA Women’s University in South Korea and has been recognized as a World Pulse Global Change Maker from 2016 to 2018.

In May 2022, Sister Zeph achieved the remarkable distinction of becoming the first woman among Pakistani minorities to graduate from Kaiciid (The King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue).

Sister Zeph’s commitment to humanitarian causes led to her appointment as a member of the Prisoners Welfare Committee for Central Jail Gujranwala in January 2023.

On March 6th, 2023, she was honored with the Minority Women’s Leadership Award by Governor Punjab Mr. Mahammad Baligh Ur Rehman at the Governor’s House in Lahore, Pakistan.

Furthermore, on March 9th, 2023, Sister Zeph achieved the status of a finalist for the Women Changing the World Award in multiple categories, including Humanitarian Impact, Community Impact, Women in Education, and Woman Changing the World of the Year.

In July 2023, she successfully completed training in “Nature-based Solutions for Disaster and Climate Resilience,” organized by PEDRR, the United Nations Environment Program, and the European Union, through the SDG Academy.

Notably, Sister Zeph’s remarkable achievements have led to her inclusion in the category of notable women of Pakistan on Wikipedia, alongside former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Malala Yousafzai. You can find more information about her on the following Wikipedia page: [link](

My Story

I was quite the mischievous child during my early years, but I also displayed strong leadership qualities at school, always knowing what I wanted to pursue. You see, I had ambitious aspirations of becoming a lawyer. My journey began when I was just thirteen, with my very first article on Women’s Rights published in Pakistan’s renowned newspaper, Jung. I was a dreamer, always aiming for the highest peaks, despite leading a lifestyle quite distinct from my peers. Even though I had everything others did, I hungered to explore the unconventional.

Like most mothers in my country, mine often emphasized the idea of marriage in my future. However, I held a steadfast belief that my purpose in this world extended far beyond just matrimony. My heart consistently reassured me that there was more to life than that.

As a child, I possessed a profound sensitivity. During my formative years, one pivotal incident permanently altered the course of my life. It was the day I decided to abandon my school in the midst of seventh grade. What made it unique? Well, I vowed never to return, deeply scarred by a humiliating experience. On that fateful day, I delivered an impromptu speech to my classmates, assuming the role of a teacher while standing on the teacher’s chair. When our teacher entered the classroom, she erupted in anger, subjecting me to a harsh punishment in front of my peers. She hurled insults at me, and the other girls joined in ridiculing me. I was overwhelmed by tears, wounded both mentally and emotionally. This, I believed, was not the proper way to educate a child who was simply being a child.

In that moment, I took everyone by surprise by leaving school immediately, abruptly extinguishing all my dreams. Despite my parents’ attempts to enroll me in other schools, I remained resolute, refusing to yield. Nevertheless, my pursuit of knowledge never wavered. I embarked on a journey of self-study, independent and tuition-free. Simultaneously, I made it my mission to educate other girls, but with the respect, love, and care that I had been denied in my previous school. I volunteered to host girls at my home, commenced making house calls in my village, and created pamphlets for distribution. I proclaimed that education under my guidance would be free of charge. Taking it a step further, I ventured into neighboring villages to persuade parents to send their daughters to my school. I promised to teach them English for free. Every Sunday, I accompanied my mother on visits to families, though initially met with skepticism.

My endeavors seemed comical to those around me. Nobody trusted a thirteen-year-old, and no one was eager to join my school. Nevertheless, I persisted unwaveringly because I never wanted any child to endure what I had. I resolved never to resort to physical discipline in my school and to make education an engaging and enjoyable experience for the children.


"My mission is to spread education in each corner of the World"

In the beginning, my journey began with just one student, and we conducted our lessons outdoors. Back then, I lacked the luxury of pens, notebooks, or an abundance of books. During scorching summers, we sat under the blazing sun, while in the bitter cold of winter, we huddled beneath makeshift blanket tents. Rainy days served as an unexpected respite from our studies, offering an unplanned school holiday. Our classroom had no ceiling; it was the vast expanse of the sky, and our only limits were the boundaries of the heavens.

At the age of sixteen, I successfully completed my matriculation after diligent self-guided preparation. Subsequently, I secured a job as a receptionist at a telecom franchise, earning a meager $15 per month. This modest income became the lifeline for procuring stationery and other essential supplies for my school. I continued to work diligently from that point onward.

In 2010, I accomplished the remarkable feat of earning a Master’s degree in Political Science, and in 2013, I added another Master’s degree in History to my academic achievements. It’s important to note that all of this education was pursued independently, without the support of any formal institution or the guidance of a teacher.

To date, I have had the privilege of educating thousands of girls and fostering empowerment among countless more, all while continuing my own education. For the past 18 years, I have dedicated myself to working within a larger organization, advocating for the well-being of my students and myself.

During this journey, I have held the role of Administrator for the World Wide Women’s Community Page on Facebook for three years. I proudly identify as a Women’s Education and Empowerment Activist, Writer, Speaker, Teacher, and Entrepreneur. My contributions extend to writing blogs for various websites, addressing pertinent women’s issues in my region.

I remain committed to furthering my own education, currently undertaking journalism studies through World Pulse and World Wide Women. Moreover, I create theatrical info-dramas within my community, aiming to convey messages of peace, reverence for women, and the paramount importance of education.

Recently, I launched the Zeph Institute of Brainy Women as a social entrepreneur endeavor. This initiative not only generates employment opportunities but also transforms lives through education and skill development.

My journey is supported by a strong network, including my family, Malee Kenworthy from the USA, who serves as the development director of our organization, and a dedicated community of friends on social media. Their unwavering support fuels my determination to persevere. Furthermore, my compassionate friends from around the world consistently provide me with valuable opportunities to explore new avenues and ideas.

In my region, the need for improving education is paramount. My work represents just the beginning of a journey dedicated to this cause.

In my corner of the world, women endure a lifetime of suffering, facing mental and physical torment. They are denied access to education and stripped of their empowerment. Heartbreakingly, the specters of child marriage and honor killings continue to cast their shadows, perpetuating this cycle of injustice that must be shattered.

When I witness the plight and helplessness of countless women in my vicinity, it fuels an unrelenting spirit within me. It compels me to forge ahead, to never relent, and to persist without pause. I firmly believe that there exists a singular solution to all our woes: education and awareness. My mission is clear – I aspire to see every girl educated, empowered, and shielded from harm. For this noble cause, I am committed to a lifetime of tireless work and unwavering dedication.