Despite death threats, she's still teaching. And a global online community has her back.

Zeph started her school for girls in 1997 when she was 13.

Sister Zeph remembers the moments that changed the course of her life.

For nearly 20 years, she has been a teacher running a school for girls in Pakistan, but she recalls the day that started a chain reaction for her.

When she was 13 years old, she gave a speech in class, but dared to sit in her teacher's chair.


"When the teacher came she started beating me ... in front of my classmates. She abused me and all the girls made fun of me. I was just crying and crying. I did not talk to anyone for days," she told Upworthy.

It turned out to be a pivotal moment for her.

"I decided to surprise everyone. I decided to do something that nobody expected. At that moment I decided to leave school and to become a teacher myself ... to make a school of my own.

In the beginning no one trusted me. No one was ready to join my school because I was just 13 years old. But I kept going, I did not want any child to experience what had happened to me."

20 years later, Sister Zeph remains the founder of Zephaniah Free Education, a school in rural Punjab, Pakistan.

The school serves 200 students seven days a week — amid threats and resistance — in a building that's only 12 feet by 15 feet.

Students in class at Zephaniah Free Education. All images from Zephaniah Women Education and Empowerment Foundation, used with permission.

In the Gujranwala region of Pakistan, where the school is located, only about half of women over the age of 10 can read.

Sister Zeph wants more people to understand this and other everyday realities for women in her region in Pakistan.

A photo of Sister Zeph's students!

In an email to Upworthy, Sister Zeph lists the jarring, and often unspoken, confines of being a woman in her area of the world.

"People do not know that they cannot laugh without permission, cannot speak loud, they cannot sing a song, they cannot have a dream in life, cannot wear clothes of own choice, cannot raise a question, cannot do a job ... their purpose of life is only to serve the husband, to produce children and to [run a] household."

Sister Zeph helps create opportunities for girls and women through education. Technology and online communications are a large part of that.

By educating women and showing them the opportunities that life has to offer, Sister Zeph hopes to change these circumstances.

"My calling is to empower each and every woman on this earth and to make them feel that they are not a property of men they are complete human beings equal to men," she said.

Pretty great mission, huh?

Well, not according to everyone. Sister Zeph and her students have met with opposition — and even threats — every step of the way. Sister Zeph's home was even attacked with guns in 2006 and 2013.

In addition to traditional school curriculum, Sister Zeph's school also teaches (and values) art!

Sister Zeph had been teaching for 13 years, keeping her head down and her school open, when she started using Facebook.

When she was able to access an online community, the obstacles didn't lessen, but the opportunities, support, and love increased exponentially ... and inspirationally. She told Upworthy of the transition from hopeless perseverance to determined tenacity.

"I had been teaching in open air for about 13 years. I was alone, there was no support, no help, and no hope. I was attacked by gunmen in 2006 but there was no notice of this thing, but then I joined Facebook. I started posting our activity on daily basis. I was admired from around the world. I was given financial and moral support."

Students with their artwork.

By sharing her story, her ups and her downs, Sister Zeph found a global community. Online, she also discovered World Pulse, a social networking platform connecting women worldwide for change. World Pulse's training, combined with Facebook's access, multiplied the outpouring of love from the online community around the world almost miraculously.

"I must say that Facebook is a most powerful tool to make a change in the world; my life is its proof," she added.

In the classroom.

Sister Zeph's story is so inspiring and so simple. Her example shows that so much is possible, even if you're 13, with no experience — just a lot of grit.

Here's hoping that her school creates an entire generation of strong leaders for her region, for Pakistan, and for the world. In her words:

"Education is a light and illiteracy is a darkness. And darkness cannot face the light, you know."

Students of Sister Zeph's students are models of strength!

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

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The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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