” All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them,” these profound words belong to none other than the great Walt Disney, who is known to be the pioneer of the animation industry. These words, though decades old, still hold true today for anyone and everyone who dreams of making it big regardless of the hurdles that stand in their way.
In a country like Pakistan, where more than half the population is living on the edge of poverty, for most families, education is not a top priority and considerably a burden.
Since not everyone is born with a silver spoon, a lot of talent fades away due to a lack of resources and family limitations. However, there are those who still vow to break out of their circumstances and pursue their dreams. On their part, it requires immense courage to dream and to pursue it is an entirely different story.
Shahzad Akbar belongs to the category of the relentless; refusing to give up at any cost. Sharing Shahzad’s journey in his own words is truly an inspiration for the people of this society, who hail from similar background and are akin to those limitations.
Shahzad, who was the son of a grocery merchant, bore the added responsibility of being the eldest amongst his five siblings. Moreover, since he belonged to Tando Jam, which is a small town in Sindh, his resources were limited. Yet his focus never wavered from his scholastic goals.
He was a bright and sharp student, who topped in his school and college. His dreams were shattered, when his application to the Pakistan Navy got rejected on the last day of admission. However, unlike others who did not deem education a priority, Shahzad’s parents supported his educational objective and encouraged him not to give up hope.
Staying focused towards his academic endeavors; he persevered and did not stop trying despite the constraints of limited resources and financial problems.
As they say that good things come to those who are patient and never give-up, for Shahzad the stroke of luck materialised when a team from LUMS visited his college and shared details of their scholarship programme. Beating all the odds, his enthusiasm and hard work paid off when he got selected for the University’s National Outreach Programme (NOP).
Recalling his journey, Shahzad shared that, “the NOP opportunity knocked on my door at the right time. Thankfully, I got admitted to LUMS after getting rigorously trained by their faculty during the summer coaching sessions. I feel blessed to have been a part of a programme that enabled me to interact with the brightest people from all over Pakistan.” However it was his patience and constant struggle that led him to graduate from LUMS.
A pragmatist from an underprivileged area of interior Sindh, coming from a mediocre family and reaching out to a renowned university of Pakistan; it was definitely not a piece of cake for Shahzad. Moreover, the institution was an altogether a different world with socio-economic stratification and community gaps, presenting as a challenging experience.
Without a doubt, it was his dedication and ambition that enabled him to overcome every difficulty and graduate from one of the leading education institution of the country. Shahzad’s journey from a small town to being employed in an organisation that most aspire for stands as an example for those who dare to dream big. Moreover, understanding the limited resources that haunt the masses, Shahzad took it upon himself to pave way for the less privileged by working in the development sector as well.
The lesson to be learnt from Shahzad’s story is that hard-work always pays-off; if not instantly then in the long run. As the famous physicist Albert Einstein once said, “genius is one percent talent and ninety nine percent hard-work.”
If you want change, be the change agent and where action speaks louder than words, Shahzad sets a perfect example.