At an age where we’re debating about cartoon characters and superpowers, this 9-year-old boy had a vision. He set up a school in his own backyard, in the village of Morshidabad in West Bengal and worked extra hard to educate kids in his village. Babar Ali, recognised as the youngest headmaster in the world, is living the dream he started as a kid.
After almost 12 years of dedication, devotion and numerous ups and downs along the way, the now 21-year-old Babar is finally getting a proper school building for the children of his school, who until now had to study under a tiny shed in his backyard.
Here’s how it all started…
Babar Ali’s life took a turn when his father, a jute trader, enrolled him in a proper school. It was 2002 and Babar had to travel 10 kms to Beldanga CRGS High School, the only one near his village.
On the way back from school, the sight of small children doing odd-jobs saddened him and he decided to do something for them. He started a school for free, in his own backyard in Murshidabad.
“It just occurred to me why not teach them what I learn in my class”, says Babar. With no supplies like pens, paper or notebooks, he made a blackboard out of terracotta tiles!
He would use newspapers as reading material and would borrow chalks from his own school. Gradually, the strength of his school increased to 8.
“I would wake up early in the morning and sit with my books under my father’s supervision. After a quick breakfast, I would go to school, and all day I would wait to get back to my own students. It was like a ‘nesha’ (addiction)”, remarks Babar
The way ahead was difficult, but Babar knew how to meander around it.
“We still needed books, so I went to the parents and guardians of all my students and collected rice from them. I sold that and bought alphabet books for the students”, he says.
Today, he is the proud headmaster of 800 students. He has a vision of educating children all over India. He also has a school in Karnataka and plans on having many more.
Take a bow, Babar
Read more about his incredible journey, here.