Education Champion Network

Huma Zia Faran

Programmes Lead, Pak Alliance for Maths and Science Welfare Trust (PAMS) Champion since 2019
“I want people in Pakistan to think about the quality of education, what are girls actually learning... I want girls to speak up and say, ‘I want to go to school and learn.’” 
Advocating to increase government spending on girls’ education and provide STEM education

The Issue

Pakistan has the second highest number of girls out of school of any country in the world. Lack of post-primary girls’ schools force many students out of school before completing primary education — and girls with disabilities are especially vulnerable. Girls with intellectual and learning disabilities often go undiagnosed, which often leads to poor learning outcomes or dropping out early from school. Girls’ schools also lack STEM teachers and functional science labs due to insufficient government funding, discouraging girls from studying these subjects.

Huma Zia’s approach

STEM

Although Huma’s mother wasn’t able to complete her education, she wanted her daughters to complete theirs and helped Huma and her sisters go to school despite criticism and family pressure. Inspired by her mother’s example, Huma has spent the last seven years championing girls’ education across Pakistan. As programmes lead at Pak Alliance for Maths and Science Welfare Trust (PAMS), she helps marginalised students — including girls, children with disabilities and students from low-income communities — go to school and study math and science. 

With her Malala Fund grant, Huma leads a national advocacy campaign asking provincial governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to allocate at least 20% of their total budgets to education, build 10% more girls’ middle and high schools, address the shortage of STEM teachers in post-primary government girls’ schools and guarantee children with disabilities the right to education. Through media campaigns and conventions, she rallies support to convince provincial officials to support girls’ education. Huma also organises training sessions for teachers, so they can better support students with disabilities.

Huma Zia’s impact

In the last year, PAMS and its partner organisations have trained 72 teachers in Sindh and Punjab and reached more than 3,000 students through PAMS-trained teachers. PAMS intends to directly reach out to over 1,700 female students from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over two academic years.

More about Huma Zia

Twitter: @HumaZF
Organization's Facebook: Pak Alliance for Maths and Science
Organization's Twitter: @MathsSciencePK

There are 11 other Education Champions working in Pakistan.