FAISALABAD: "I believe life is not worth living if a person fails to seek wisdom, knowledge and serve humanity. I want to make my contribution to humanity through research as it could help understand life and find value in it."
These were the thoughts shared by 17-year-old Sitara Brooj Akbar while speaking to The Express Tribune on phone from Dubai.
As a teenager, Sitara has achieved many prestigious awards and certificates for her excellence in academics and other activities. She also has the honour of becoming the youngest certified anti money-laundering specialist in the world. Earlier, only 32 other people were able to pass the certification course from Pakistan.
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Born in a modest family of Rabwah, Chiniot on February 10, 2000, Sitara Akbar is the eldest of her five siblings. She is currently serving as the Youth Ambassador for Pakistan Youth Forum in Dubai and is the youngest working member of the team.
She is working with the education committee that mentors out of school Pakistani students so they do not have to fight alone to continue their studies. “A child without education is like a bird without wings,” she commented.
In addition, Sitara has a long list of awards that were conferred on her during the academic career. She added, “I got fame globally in the electronic and print media but I believe that a life that is not lived serving humanity is not worth living so I want to make my contribution to humanity through research.”
She maintained, “I have always been interested in the field of science since my childhood and am working towards fulfilling my dreams to become a researcher in bio-chemistry.”
While giving details of her early education, she told The Express Tribune that she got admission in a local school while she was five-years-old. Sitara said, “I was the lowest ranked student in the school. But soon my mother, who was a teacher in the same school, realised that I was not able to memorise things without understanding the whole concept.”
“Therefore, she took the initiative to teach me at home but soon I left school.”
She pointed out that her parents decided to open a private school for her and for the purpose, they had to quit their jobs. They taught her in the small institution for a year. “I got schooling in the said school but it could not fulfill my thirst for knowledge so that experience had to end as well,” she lamented.
“The first barrier that I needed to overcome was of English language. With no institutions for teaching language around me, I started watching cartoons,” she elaborated.
Later at the age of six, Sitara said she got a chance to attend a month long spoken English language course and she was the only child among dozens of adults.
“I developed love for reading. My parents would travel to Faisalabad that is situated at an hour's drive from my hometown to buy novels and story books for me,” she told The Express Tribune.
To a question about her achievements in the academic field, she said, “I completed O Levels at the age of nine. By eleven years, I had finished GCSE in Biology, Physics, English and Mathematics.”
Sitara said that she also applied for admission to different universities to pursue her education but they refused to grant her admission due to her young age. “However, they appreciated my achievements,” she remarked.
Regarding the role of her parents and teachers she said, “My parents have always supported me and worked day and night to fulfill my dreams. I am looking forward to pursue my studies and career in the United Kingdom.”
She said more than 63% of the world's illiterate youth are females and the world cannot prosper unless we educate girls. “When we educate a man you are educating a single person but with a woman, you educate a whole generation.”
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Awards and Achievements
• NPC Gold Medal Award
• Talented Children’s Award on Universal Children’s Day
• Country of Kalamar, Sweden Award
• Outstanding Pakistani Award from the Nazaria Pakistan Council
• Honorary Shield of Appreciation from Pakistan’s ambassador to UAE
• Certificates of appreciation by British Council
• Active Citizens Award by British Council
• Meri Pehchan Pakistan Award by Pakistan Association, Dubai
• Certificates from Chenab Club Faisalabad, Pakistan Youth Forum,
and Parliamentary Forum on Child Rights
• Secured Band 9 in IELTS exam
• Youngest O level candidate
• Youngest IELTS candidate
• British Council published blogs on her success
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2017.