After Her Daughter Gave Up On Life, This 85 Year Old American Mother Has Built A School In Pakistan Honoring Her Memory

By Rameeza Ahmad | 20 Sep, 2018

Hunza has become home to the memories of this American mother’s daughter who committed suicide 14 years ago.


39 year old Elizabeth Tschursin, an American, came to Hunza in 1993 for a few months and fell in love with the place


Elizabeth spent her time in the valley teaching science at a depilated building of Al-Murtaza Academy. When she returned to the United States for a few months in 1994 because of visa issues, she ended up taking her own life before she could return to Hunza again, as she had allegedly planned.


According to Elizabeth’s mother, Diana MacArthur, she had been suffering from depression for a while which ultimately led the American Elizabeth to take her own life.


She recalled her daughter had spent some of the best times of her life in Hunza which is what prompted her to visit the valley. In 2007, Diana made her first trip to Pakistan and instantly felt a connection when she visited Hunza and decided that she wanted to do something for the community there.

And when she met the board members of the school Elizabeth had taught at, they requested for her to fund a new building, to which she immediately agreed. Apparently, Diana had been looking for a way to honor her daughter’s memory and this was a perfect way.


In 2008, Diana went about planning to get a new building constructed in the area for the Al-Murtaza Academy to keep her daughter’s memories, and love for Hunza, alive

And it took her 10 years and 20 visits to Pakistan to construct the perfect building. The building introduced safe and green engineering practices to the area. And also happened to be the first seismic proof school to be constructed in Gilgit-Baltistan.


Diana spoke at the inauguration of the school, earlier in September 2018. The school currently houses 400 students but will be able to accommodate up to 700. The ultimate aim of the school is to provide students’ a full education; from elementary school to 12th grade.

Other than that the school has facilities for physically disabled children amongst other things which are rarely found in Pakistani schools such as central heating, insulation and more; it is truly state of the art.

Now that the school has been completed and is up and running it will be handed over to the Aga Khan Foundation, Pakistan who will ensure that the standards are always maintained.

Diana was incredibly happy at the completion of the school and said she believed her daughter was watching over it.

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