“I am and always have been a rebel to ideas, perception and thoughts. My story began with a bucket full of ambitions when like everybody I saw money as the key to achieving my dreams. But with only 400 USD I dared to embark on a journey that unraveled the world onto me. I did not just travel but also thrived in creating an impact in world top Universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Sydney and Politecnio di Milano. Later while I was based in Oslo, I chose to move back to help change the notion of Pakistan as the world’s most dangerous place. Since then I have mentored and empowered 1000’s of youth, women and the lesser privileged with a perspective of a traveler and have created a startup Fori Mazdoori that helps bring the offline communities to the digital world. I am probably the only PhD in Design in Pakistan.
I have generally been very lucky – I see struggles as challenges and I love challenges. At the time of my graduation, I was a good programmer & computer scientist but then I realized that I had to develop something more to shine among my peers. I decided to move to Malaysia, once I was set in Malaysia where I worked as a full time research officer, Masters by research candidate, an RJ and a faculty member among many other things – I again had this desire to become part of a stronger research unit and the very thought transpired my relocation to University of Sydney, Australia.
Then while I was all set in Australia my love to learn Design from the best pushed me to accept a PhD position with the best Design school in Milan. Here I was again leaving my set life behind. My good fortune knocked the door and I found a job as an Interaction Designer with in Politecico di Milano. This time I was more focused on completing my PhD and courtesy my keenness to create innovation – I got the opportunity to travel to US and create a project called Trash Track that got featured across international media (such as CNN, Discovery, BBC, London Museum) and also won NSF visualization challenge. The final years of my research earned me the titles of IBM PhD Fellow & Roberto Rocca Fellow.
I believe I am moving closer each day and the transformation of my mentees and their appreciation fuels my desires to do even more. But, importantly the struggle continues and has helped me live and do my bit across three continents of the world so far.
Once I had decided that I will do something with high-impact – I posed myself a simple question: How can we fix the troubles in Pakistan?
My answer back then was, to truly fix Pakistan we need to address the two very interlinked areas (i) Education (ii) Economic Empowerment. Hence I started Fori Mazdoori (http://www.forimazdoori.com) startup for the economic empowerment of the masses. At the moment, through our current model – we believe we will be able to impact potentially millions of lives. Helping transform lives is the mission of our startup as-well. We invite the community to join us by following us on our facebook pages (facebook.com/forimazdoori).
In the end I would just like to say, keep moving forward! No matter how hard something, someone or an event or a situation hits you – you just pick yourself up and continue moving ahead.
History is a great teacher but my way of life is, ‘history is mystery, future is unknown, so all you have is this very moment’. Thinking too momentarily can also be tricky so focus on this moment and the next. Hence, I suggest looking at life as extended present l. I truly believe that if you do your very best right now, you future is only going to be bright. If it does? then it just wasn’t meant to be! So keep going on!”