Shabeena’s Quest

About This Project

The story of Shabeena, a remarkable school principal, and her quest to bring education to the children living in the shadow of the Taliban on Pakistan’s frontier. Despite age-old traditions that keep girls out of school and send them into arranged marriages, Shabeena’s school actively recruits them. Afshan, a bright young girl who comes from a family of six daughters, is one of her great success stories.

Living on the meager wages of a night security guard, her family is committed to each of them attending school. Another girl, Zarina, comes from similar circumstances but has had to fight to stay in school and resist her family’s plan to marry her off at the age of 14. We see young girls and boys in their classrooms, discussing Pakistan and its future, we hear villagers tussling with different views about education for girls and we see Shabeena recruiting for new students, persuading reluctant parents of the long-term benefits of educating girls. Over the course of a year, we see how Afshan and Zarina, as well as Shabeena herself, each strive to realize their dreams.

Company Credits

Al Jazeera


Directors: Hemal Trivedi, Mohammed Naqvi
Producers: Hemal Trivedi, Jonathan Goodman Levitt
Co-Producers: Naziha Syed Ali, Syed Musharaf Shah
Executive Producer: Whitney Dow
Cinematographer: Shalalae Jamil
Editor: Hemal Trivedi

(Film), Al Jazeera