The story of a nine-year-old boy purposefully walking down the corridors of power to secure supplies for a school he has set up in his own backyard in an impoverished village is the stuff of legends.
Babar Ali, who is known as the youngest headmaster in the world (a title he earned by global media and institutions), is truly living his dream today. What started as a child’s play is now slowly turning into a movement with a mission to educate each and every child in the country.
After nearly 12 years of single-minded determination and numerous adventures, 21-year-old Babar Ali is finally going to get a proper school building for the children of his school which is still being run under a tin shed in his backyard.
Babar Ali is the headmaster here hailed as the youngest one in the world. His motto is to fight poverty through education, but he has not been without its problems, including allegations of proselytism.
He couldn’t afford to miss school because what would he teach his kids if he didn’t learn something there. He felt responsible for the kids he was teaching.
However, Babar’s father began to worry that his son may be neglecting his own studies. But such was Babar’s dedication that he was able to balance both teaching and learning, and eventually, his father had to relent and let him continue running his school. It wasn’t easy. Especially because he was so young. People would often doubt his intentions and say that he was trying to mislead the kids. But it was because of his students’ belief in him and his family’s support that he managed to continue his work.
Babar’s advice to parents? “Never underestimate the potential of children. At nine, when I decided to start a school of my own, a single word of discouragement from the part of my parents would have let me down. They trusted me. My call was to become a teacher. Your child’s might be to become a businessman or a scientist or a writer. Motivate them to do what they are passionate about.”
Babar graduated with a B.A. (Honours) in English and went on to do an M.A. (English Literature). He is now pursuing another post-graduate programme in History.
I believe that if you are passionate about something then you can achieve anything. Age, finances, other hurdles, just don’t matter and eventually everything works out.