In Malaysia, a 17-year-old Pakistani refugee is helping educate fellow refugees

When 14-year-old Geeti Ara moved to Malaysia from Pakistan as a refugee she dreamed of becoming a teacher. But Geeti’s dream was nearly impossible, as she and her parents belonged to the severely persecuted Ahmadiyya community.

Now the 17-year-old Pakistani refugee is fulfilling her dreams by helping educate fellow refugees in Malaysia. Geeti started teaching at the Smart Iqra Education refugee school in 2014, while she was still 14. After her inspirational story came to light she was asked to speak at Malaysia’s Refugee Fest, an event which focuses on using arts, culture, and education to help integrate refugees into Malaysian society.

Geeti says when she moved to Malaysia with her family she had a hard time attending school as education was expensive, and this initial experience made her realize that other refugees were going through similar a situation, this lead her to start teaching at a refugee school.

For me as a teacher, educating the children, giving them knowledge is the best thing that I can do now and I would love to pursue this in the future.

When Geeti is not teaching at the refugee school she loves to draw. When she drew a portrait of Candian PM Justin Trudeau she got a response from his office, thanking her for her gift.

Geeti and her family are part of an estimated 1,500 Ahmadi refugees who fled persecution in Pakistan and sought asylum in Malaysia.