Celebrating Teachers


Teachers were traditionally awarded a high status in society, commanding respect wherever they went. Today, public perception about Pakistan’s teachers—especially those working in government schools—is overwhelmingly negative.

Contrary to popular belief, hundreds of thousands of teachers continue to work against the odds to provide a decent education to Pakistani children.


Alif Ailaan presents stories of inspiring teachers so we can better appreciate the hard work teachers do every day all across this great country.

A Brick In Each HandBeing a teacher in the underprivileged communities of Pakistan can bring unexpected challenges. ‘A Brick in Each Hand’ is the story of Farzana Sial, a heroic teacher, for whom no challenge was insurmountable when it came to ensuring a brighter future for her students. Driven by her commitment to teaching and her passion for her students, she successfully took on a landlord bent on shutting down her school. The film showcases how one woman’s struggles and perseverance gradually transformed the attitude of an entire community towards education. Farzana is now a principal at a local school in Khairpur. Featured Teachers About the Film-maker Shehryar Mufti  is a documentary filmmaker. He has worked on films for Bloomberg TV, The Guardian UK, Save the Children, MTV Voices, UNDP Pakistan, the International Rescue Committee and Alif Ailaan. He has also worked extensively within the Pakistani broadcast industry as a news reporter, producer and presenter. In 2008, Shehryar directed and produced the documentary film titled 'The Prince' which was aired on BBC World.Upon returning from an Innovation Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University in 2010, he started his independent production company, Mufti Media.  Shehryar's interests lie in stories that are off the beaten path, outside the 'latest and greatest' news cycle. Apart from documentaries, he has also produced music videos and television advertisements. 


The Care I Took

Great teachers have the power to inspire a love for learning in their students. This short documentary features Anwar Masood, a prominent poet and educationist, sharing his insight about the teachers who shaped his life. His story highlights the importance and depth of the teacher-student relationship, which has the potential to go far beyond academic enrichment.


Farzana Sial

Farzana Sial has been teaching for fifteen years in Khairpur, Sindh. Teaching started as a hobby for her but, soon became her passion once she found herself emotionally connected to her students. When parents started pulling their daughters out of school, Farzana decided to take action. She got the girls at her school to start teaching their mothers in the evening, to engage mothers in the education of their daughters. This led to mothers taking ownership of their daughters’ education and has been successful in keeping girls in school for the past two years. Teaching is still her first love, but she now works on addressing the larger issues plaguing girls’ education in Sindh.


Anwar Maqsood

A nationally renowned poet and teacher, Anwar Masood is a role model for teachers across Pakistan. Inspired by his experiences as a student and by his own teachers from school to university, he has written several poems paying tribute to teachers. He was educated in Gujarat and Lahore and went on to be a teacher and lecturer in different colleges of the Punjab for 34 years. His poetry is enjoyed by people of all ages and some of his most famous works include Aaj Ki Pakaiyay, Bunayn, Juma Bazaar and Jehlum Da Pul.