Sitara Brooj Akbar is just 15 years old, but oozes confidence rare for children her age. Home-schooled and self-taught as she had to leave school for “asking too many questions”, Sitara will be mentoring Pakistani kids here via a platform that has been set to help children excel.
The platform, Pakistan Youth Forum (PYF), will help impart skills that are not being taught in UAE schools.
A world record holder and officially the brightest girl in the world, Sitara Brooj Akbar will teach youngsters the art of public speaking and improving self confidence.
“Youth should have a purpose,” she says. Sitara, who will represent the newly set up PYF as an ambassador, says education makes one a better person. “If it doesn’t, then it is a failure,” says Sitara.
“I had to leave school because my teachers thought I asked too many questions and they complained to my parents.”
Sitara holds a world record for passing six O level subjects, including Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology, at the age of 10. She is the youngest candidate of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). She secured 9 bands out of 9 in the testing system, making her the youngest student to do that. She is also the youngest top position holder in O level.
“Do not get discouraged if you fail … this might just be a stepping stone and God might have better plans for you,” says Sitara.
She says studying biochemistry is her passion, but she is not being accepted by any foreign universities because of her age.
“I am busy learning French since I love languages. I have already mastered Persian and Arabic.”
What is PYF?Dr Jameela Haq, the 24-year-old founder of PYF
Dr Jameela Haq, the 24-year-old founder of PYF, speaks passionately about the project. “We want to address the core issues youngsters are facing, especially those studying in Pakistani schools,” she says.
Youngsters from universities – and even others who are willing to join – will work as volunteers and start teaching children from September.
Hundreds of students from Grades 8 to 12 will be given training on public speaking, self-confidence building tactics and the English language. Career counselling sessions will also be conducted.
Besides education, students will be taught about how to care for themselves. Guidance will be provided on general and dental health as well as nutrition, lifestyle and smoking.
“We feel a responsibility towards the community … and this is the most important reason for us to work towards this cause,” explains Jameela, who is studying to become a dentist.
The forum has identified two core issues for the needy children of the community – health and education.
With a core strength of 70 people, the volunteers are ready to start the training sessions. The sub-committee is already open for Pakistanis and non-Pakistanis who wish to offer their services.
“We are talking about children who are studying in schools where the fees is Dh300 per month … They attend school but do not learn. We want to train them and show them that they can achieve their goals,” says Jameela.
Two community schools have been picked up initially: Pakistani School in Sharjah and Pakistan Education Academy in Dubai. “We have already held meetings with the principals of these schools and they have offered full support,” she says.
Jameela says Sitara has been chosen to represent the forum because of the example she has set. “Even though Sitara has not attended school, she has set records. She can pass on these skills to many others who are in need.”
Jameela has appealed to the Pakistani community to step up and sponsor the cause. ” … You can volunteer, train, donate or contribute in any way you please.”