Rahmat Ullah Rahimi
Rahmat Ullah Rahimi is an advocate for peace, education, and specifically, girls rights in Pakistan. In 1979, Rahmat moved from Afghanistan, where he was brought up, to Pakistan, where he and his family lived in an Afghan refugee camp. While in the camp, he became acutely aware of the relationship between poverty, and young girls not being sent to school and educated. From 1983-2000, there were no educational facilities for girls at the camp.
Rahmat started teaching at a primary school in the camp but then decided to start a school for girls in the vicinity, which he built by himself with materials he could find nearby. His aim was to not only educate the girls, but also to discourage early marriage in households, and enable young women to have a brighter future for when they left the camp in the future.
During this time, he was given little to no support from the community in the camp with his new school for girls and was challenged for over five years by the residents nearby. It was following this that Rahmat met two Quakers, who agreed to work with him to establish a bigger school and enroll more girls from the camps. The funds were raised, and in 2002, the school was established in Akora Khattak and run by the UNHCR.
As headmaster, Rahmat has educated over 600 girls and has witnessed first-hand change in society by changing attitudes towards educating girls.