Inspiring People: Arfa Karim

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Arfa Karim (1995-2012)

Many say that it takes a lot of age and wisdom to determine which direction one wants to head in. This article is about a young Pakistani girl who received the title of ‘Youngest Microsoft Certified Professional’ in the world. Arfa Karim was a simple, down to earth girl who dreamt about touching skies through education and through bringing development to under developed areas in her country; Pakistan.

Reason for inspiration:

Being inspired from Allama Iqbal, “Poet of the East”, she wanted to facilitate education in the lower socioeconomic areas of Pakistan, using internet and technology. Her dream was to get higher education from prestigious universities like Harvard and M.I.T. and to return back to further IT sectors in Pakistan.

Arfa Karim became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional only at the age of 9 years. Upon this, Bill Gates was so inspired and impressed from her that he invited her to visit Microsoft. Upon her visit to the States, Bill Gates asked her about the perception that women are not given equal rights in Pakistan and are very backwards as they wear headscarves. Arfa replied to Bill Gates’ perception by asking him why Microsoft had lesser number of female professionals?. Bill Gates answered that it’s difficult to find ladies who are technology expert. Arfa said that he should visit Pakistan, go to the countryside and see how many women are using technology to earn livelihood over there. This reflected her passion and her vision to amalgamate technology and agriculture.

She earned a lot of titles and awards. She was called as ‘Cyber Princess of Pakistan’ and ‘Princess of Bill Gates’. She received Fatima Jinnah gold medal for her excellence in field of Science and Technology. She has the honour of receiving President’s Award for Pride of Performance and is the youngest Pakistani to have received this award. In 2010, she was chosen as brand ambassador for Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).

Apart from the IT genius, she was also learning flying at the age of 10 years. She was also working with NASA. Her hobbies included poetry and singing.

She passed away on 14th January, 2012. May her soul rest in peace. Amin

In her honor, Lahore Technology Park was renamed to Arfa Software Technology Park. You can also visit Arfa Karim Foundation website that aims to promote and materialize her dream.

Click the picture below to see a mini video interview of her family about Arfa.

Written by Muhammad Wasif Haq (2014)
Adelaide, Australia
The page is a part of Cool Bluez

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