Over the weekend, the world lost a very special young woman who, if she isn’t already, ought to be an inspiration to us all. Arfa Karim of Faisalabad, Pakistan passed away at the age of 16 after being in a coma for three weeks following an epileptic seizure and subsequent cardiac arrest. Karim passed Microsoft’s certification test to become a Microsoft Certified Professional in 2005 at the age of 9, making her at the time the youngest to ever earn the distinction (since then, a young girl from India has secured the status of Microsoft Certified Professional at a younger age, also achieving it at age 9 in 2008). The MCP title is awarded to those with a mastery of Windows operating systems, requiring fluency as a programmer. It is often considered a resume-builder for those in the IT industry seeking to advance their careers.
At the age of 10, Karim was invited by Bill Gates, then still the Chairman of Microsoft, to tour the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Washington, and have a one-on-one meeting with Gates himself. After hearing of Karim’s plight in January, Gates offered to pay for her medical care and have her transferred to a hospital in the United States, but doctors deemed it unsafe, as Karim was on a ventilator at the time.
At 10 years old, Karim mused that, “If you want to do something big in your life, you must remember that shyness is only the mind. If you think shy, you act shy. If you think confident you act confident. Therefore never let shyness conquer your mind.” At 16, before her hospitalization and untimely death, Karim was said to be working on a project for NASA.
Karim will be honored with a permanent monument in her native Faisalabad, and the IT Media City in Karachi, Pakistan, will be renamed the Arfa Karim IT Media City in her memory. Hopefully, that memory can stand as a testament to what we can all accomplish with our lives, with an unwavering commitment to excellence and, to paraphrase Ms. Karim herself, a refusal to let shyness conquer the mind.
Via the Huffington Post