Back in February, we introduced you to the four women finalists who were in the top ten running for the $1Million Global Teacher Prize. Last week it was announced that Palestinian teacher Hanan Al Hroub has won the prize for her outstanding contributions to her community.

Hanan Al Hroub, who grew up in a refugee camp, now works to help students overcome the violence that surrounds them using a teaching approach she calls, “We Play and Learn.” Hanan developed this program after seeing her own kids left deeply traumatized by the daily violence they have been exposed to in their neighborhood.

“We just want peace; we want our children to enjoy their childhoods in peace.”

Her work has directly led to a decline in violent incidents in schools where violence is a frequent occurrence; she has inspired her colleagues to review the way they teach, their classroom management strategies and the sanctions they use.

The announcement of the prestigious award of came from Pope Francis, who said about Hanan’s philosophy of limiting violence by playing and learning, “A child has the right to play. Part of the education is to teach children how to play, because you learn how to be social through games and you learn the joy of life.”

So how will Hanan spend the $1Million prize money? After winning the prize she said, “I’m not interested in using the money for myself. It’s a lot of money and I could start a new life somewhere, but I’d rather use it to improve my country and the lives of these children.”

To learn more about Hanan’s incredible story, check out this short documentary…