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Salma Hayek launches documentary based on Pakistani education advocate

October 22, 2014

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Salma Hayek Pinault, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Mariane Pearl.
—Courtesy photo
Salma Hayek Pinault, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and Mariane Pearl. —Courtesy photo

Actor and philanthropist Salma Hayek unveiled the documentary Humaira: The Game Changer, which is based on Pakistani education activist Humaira Bachal, at the Women's Forum Global Meeting in Deauville, France.

The conference saw female leaders in business, science, education and human rights come together for a common goal – to strengthen "women influence throughout the globe."

Ms Bachal’s story was first told in Humaira: The Dream Catcher, which reflects on Humaira’s path to construct her 'Dream Model Street School' in the slums of Pakistan, where education for girls is a concept often frowned upon and the literacy rate among girls is only 15 per cent.

Humaira: The Game Changer is a sequel produced by Hayek's charity Chime for Change and has been directed by Oscar-winning Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy.

“The Dream School has changed the lives of hundreds of children. Every girl deserves to go to school, regardless of where she was born,” said Madonna, who appeared onstage with Humaira at the Sound of Change Live concert last year.

The singer further added: “Humaira is a freedom fighter. She is a hero for these girls and an example for all of us,” reported the Daily Mail.

During an emotional moment in the new documentary 28-year-old Humaira says: "It feels like we have moved from a site of ruins into a palace."

The 18-room 'Dream Model Street School' was completed in summer 2014, and includes a playground, library and computer lab. The school enables nearly 1,000 local girls and boys to pursue an education, and provides job opportunities for local women as teachers and assistants.

According to Daily Mail, Salma said that she was motivated to fight for women’s rights after witnessing a disturbing incident at the age of six.

She recalled that while she was walking down the streets in Mexico City with her parents, she saw a man beating up his wife.

When Salma's father stepped in to help the victim, the woman started physically abusing Salma's father instead and defended her husband saying, "How dare you, he can do what he wants."

"What did she go through to think she deserved it – not only to out it with it, but to defend it?" said the 42-year-old actor, who now focuses her charitable work on domestic violence.

Hayek founded Chime For Change, a charity organisation for girls' and women's empowerment, along with Beyonce and creative director of Gucci, Frida Giannini.

In June last year, the trio raised awareness about women empowerment through their Sound of Change live concert, which took place in London, and featured many celebrities who are supporting the cause such as Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Jay-Z and Beyonce, John Legend and Rita Ora to name a few.