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Quratul-ain Bakhteari grew up in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Karachi after the creation of Pakistan in 1947. In her early twenties, as a mother of three young sons, she earned a Master's Degree in Social Work from Karachi University.
Over the years, she has masterminded the development of both educational and health initiatives that have transformed the lives of thousands of people.
With the support of UNICEF, she mobilised 5,000 families to construct household pit latrines - a practice that has since become a sanitation policy for low-income people across the country. To support practical projects of this kind, she managed the recruitment of young women to introduce the concept of Home Schools for hygiene education. She has also established 2,000 government girls' primary schools in rural Balochistan, resulting in the enrolment of 200,000 girls.
Frustrated with a lack of efficacy in internationally sponsored development projects, she wrote a concept paper that became the blueprint for the Institute of Development Studies and Practices and was awarded three years of funding by The Asia Foundation. She formulated curricula, and recruited and trained faculty, formally launching the Institute in 1999.
The Institute has grown and developed locally, regionally and nationally and seeks to provide opportunities for motivated young people who lack access to education and livelihood opportunties. Its work, which is widely recognised and respected, receives support from international donors and foundations.
Doctor Bakhteari was amongst the 1,000 women from 150 countries collectively nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
Quratul-ain was awarded a PhD in Geography by Loughborough Univeristy in 1987.