Posts Tagged ‘ Microsoft Certified Professional ’

Remembering Arfa

By Ali Moeen Nawazish for The News International

It was 23rd March 2007, a bright and sunny day. I was sitting along with a fellow distinction holder in the waiting room at the studios of state-run TV. We both had this smirk about ourselves as if we had conquered some unachievable mountain and that we were “special”. After all we were going to be on TV. While we were waiting for our turn to get our few minutes in the limelight, walked in this little girl hardly 12 years old. “Hi, how are you? What have you done at such a young age?” asked my counterpart.

“I am the world’s youngest Microsoft certified professional,” she replied putting both of us to shame. That was the first time I met Arfa Karim. First impressions? Amazingly talented girl, capable of doing big things and absolutely confident and sure about herself. In the first two minutes you meet her, she will wow you with her charm and intellect.

I communicated with Arfa after that through email and Facebook in 2008 and 2009, and while we all know of her extraordinary abilities, how she could fly a plane and when she met Bill Gates, I wanted to share something that few people know about her. Throughout our conversations one theme was always recurring, she wanted to do good and help others. She talked endlessly about how she wanted to build a computer lab back in her village, how it was her dream to impart IT education to those who didn’t have access to it in Pakistan. She was well aware of the challenges that lay ahead of her and the country. I feel that somehow she understood the expectations that people had from her, but at the same time was taking it in a stride. She tried hard to ensure that the expectations don’t affect her own self-direction in life. She was also very kind hearted and a generous spirit too, whenever someone would ask her for help or anyone would refer someone to her, she would make sure she helped that person to the best of her abilities.

It is one thing to acknowledge one’s blessings and thank people for the love and affection that they show, but it is completely another to decide to dedicate a part of your life to give something back to the community and country that made you who you are. One thing she often spoke of is how some wouldn’t take her ideas seriously because she was a little girl. People would judge her ideas and plans by her age and not by their merit alone. About an idea for rural education, she wrote: “I myself have been working, or trying to work, for this objective. The problem here is that if I come up with plans, no one takes them seriously because I am a “14-year old kid”. My grandfather was a villager and we are still an agricultural family. I still retain ties with my rural background and so would be proud to be part of something like this.” A phenomenon perhaps often too common in our society. Yet, she always had the resolve to deal with it and find solutions around these problems, as any good software developer would. Arfa was a girl who was never going to let anyone stand in her way, no matter what it took.

By any measure of the word she was truly a gifted girl with her own little quirks that made her who she was. She wanted to get done with her O Levels long before the actual time she had to give them, because quite frankly she didn’t need more time. To one of our conversations in which I was encouraging her to take more time, she wrote: “To have more time was the reason I delayed it a little. Otherwise, I would have been finished with my O levels in this session. I was thinking that if I stretch it out too long, I might get bored with it in the end.” Perhaps the only person I knew in the world that would give exams early because she would get bored with the content.

It is somewhat ironic that I last met her this 14th August 2011 at another PTV recording. She had grown up, but only a little, had matured by miles. Yet, what was astounding and amazing about her was that her spirit was the same of that 9-year old girl who dared to dream big and think different. Her spirit was the same of that 9-year old girl who had made it a point to not let herself be captured by the notion of what is possible and what isn’t. As ambitious as ever and talented even more, Arfa was ready to take on the world in her stride. It is unfortunate that she was taken from us well before our time, but as with all great people God calls them early to Him.

Arfa, you will truly be missed and the youth of Pakistan has suffered a great loss today. May Allah bless you and your family. You were a good friend and a great inspiration. Your spirit and memory will live on in our hearts for as long as we live. The youth lost one of its best today, but you have inspired so many and we promise to not let you down.

Arfa Karim Zindabad! Pakistan Zindabad!

(The writer is Youth Ambassador of Geo and Jang Group. Email: am.nawazish@jang.group.com.pk Facebook: facebook.com/ali.moeen.nawazish

World’s Youngest Microsoft Prodigy Arfa Laid to Rest

By Tariq Butt for The Gulf Today

Funeral prayers of the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) Arfa Karim Randhawa, who passed away on Saturday night after protracted illness, were held in Lahore on Sunday.

The prayers, held in Cavalry Ground, were attended by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and her close family members. Her coffin was draped in the national flag. She was 16. The teenage genius suffered an attack.

She got recognition and became her a source of inspiration for young and old across Pakistan. Arfa had an epileptic attack on Dec.22 and had been in a coma since.

Well-wishers prayed and watched her progress closely.

On Dec.29, doctors said there was no hope for her survival, and that her life support could be switched off any time. However, she had then miraculously responded to certain stimuli, as recently as Jan.13.

Two more funeral prayers will be held for Arfa, one in Faislabad and another in her ancestral village where she is to be buried.

As Pakistanis mourned the loss of the child prodigy, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also expressed their grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Arfa. They prayed to Allah Almighty to rest the departed soul in eternal peace and grant courage to the bereaved family to bear the loss with fortitude.

Jamaat-e-Islami head Syed Munawar Hasan expressed grief at the death.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement chief Altaf Hussain said that Pakistan has lost “precious talent” in Arfa. He expressed grief at Arfa’s demise and has sympathised with the bereaved family members and prayed for Arfa’s soul.

Arfa became the world’s youngest Microsoft certified professional in 2004 at the age of nine. She was also invited to the Microsoft headquarters in the US by Bill Gates for being the world’s youngest MCP.

Gates had also offered to conduct the child legend’s treatment in the US, but the doctors advised against transporting her to the US due to the risk involved. However, the doctors continued her treatment in consultation with specialists in the United States.

Arfa had earned the Fatima Jinnah Gold Medal in the field of science and technology and the Salam Pakistan Youth Award in 2005 for her achievements. She is also the youngest recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance.

She earned her first flight certificate by flying a plane at a flying club in Dubai at the age of 10, and was invited by Microsoft in 2006 to be a keynote speaker at the Tech-Ed Developers Conference, where she was the only Pakistani among over 5,000 developers.

Arfa represented her country Pakistan on a variety of international forum. She was also included as the honourable guest by IT Professionals of Dubai for two weeks stay in Dubai. During that trip, Arfa was awarded by a number of medals and awards from various tech societies and computer companies working in Dubai.

Arfa was a genius who had left an indelible mark on the international IT scene, winning millions of hearts in Pakistan and abroad for her excellence. The death of the child sensation had left millions of people, along with her family, relatives and friends, grieved over this national tragedy.

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