At seventeen most of us were finishing off our exams and enjoying the long summer break but not Haris Suleman who is a bit different to most teenagers.
Rather than spending the summer hanging out with his friends or lazing on a beach, he is attempting to break the world record by flying round the globe in a single-engine plane in just thirty days.
He will be flying as pilot in command with his father Babar who will only take over the controls in an emergency situation. If they succeed, Haris, who has been flying with his father since he was eight, will be the youngest ever to accomplish this daredevil feat.
But Haris isn’t just flying for the record breaking accolade, he is flying to raise money for The Citizens Foundation, a non-profit organisation that is leading Pakistan’s silent education revolution to help educate Pakistan’s poorest of the poor – the children living in some of the world’s worst slums.
The Citizens Foundation build purpose-made primary and secondary schools in the nation’s most in-need communities with the proviso that every attempt is made to have an equal number of boys to girls in the classrooms.
They place a special emphasis on the education of women in Pakistan and the teaching staff in each of the 1,000 schools is entirely made up of women to encourage parents to enrol their girls.
It is brave work that these women are doing and The Citizens Foundation’s founders hope that with the help of supporters like the Sulemans, this work can continue. They hope to forge partnerships with the government in the future to fix Pakistan’s broken public education system.
Haris and Babar’s incredible adventure starts this weekend and will see the father-son duo pass over the Swiss Alps, the Arabian Desert and the tropical forests of Southeast Asia. About 60 per cent of the trip will be over huge expanses of water, including the Atlantic, the Pacific and parts of the Indian Ocean – all in the name of a fair education.
So what were you doing at age 17?
Support Haris and Babar here: http://tiny.cc/b5v0gx.