Thinking big at a small age

A child taught me to recognise and value the good in difficult situations, and most significantly, the importance of holding on to hope.

Shahzad Baloch September 24, 2010

It was the eve of August 22, when I was at a tent village established by the Scouts in Khairpur. I was reporting from the district as well as volunteering with the Scouts. As I was talking to the IDPs, inquiring about the facilities, one woman said that though they are being supplied with food and shelter, they don’t have any money.

Suddenly, a boy standing at a little distance jumped in: “Allah saved us from the floods, we have been brought here, we should be thankful.” This was how I met 11-year-old Ali Haider, a high-spirited, confident and slightly blunt flood-survivor from Thul, Jacobabad.

It was astonishing to see so much wisdom in a boy his age, a student of grade three. Over the days, I got to witness how he became an example for the other people living in the camp. The people living in the tent village had lost their homes and livelihood. But with his positive attitude, this child helped them realise that all is not lost yet, that there are things they can do to improve their lives, even in this situation, and extract happiness. For instance, becoming a team leader of sorts, everyday he gathered together other children his age, and sometimes those older, to collect garbage and throw it in the bins placed around the camp.

As in-charge Scouts, I recruited him in the organisation and he was one of our most active members. With his exuberant personality, Ali inspired other children at the tent village to take part in activities and chores.

Ali is only 11, but he taught me to recognise and value the good in difficult situations, and most significantly, the importance of holding on to hope. We need people in the country to see the world through his eyes. Ali has proved we have many hidden leaders. We need them to take more prominent roles.

Shahzad Baloch A reporter with the Karachi desk of The Express Tribune and the chief patron of the Sindh Scouts Association.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Shahpara Rizvi | 12 years ago | Reply Yes you are right we was a symbol of hope,life and reflection of our future generation he is full of life in fact he helped us a lot in the Eid Mela and acted more like a scouts leader I was surprised to learn that he was also one of the IDPs .... you have done a good job by writing this for him !
SMJASJ | 12 years ago | Reply heart warming. Little Ali is an inspiration not only for people around him at the camp but also for all of us who complain and whine on everyday petty issues. We should learn from him that hope is always there no matter how bad the crisis. Kudos to you Shahzad for introduring this little hero to us.
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