Meet the 15–Year–Old Founder of the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation
Throughout the course of the organization’s work, the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation has focused its efforts on eliminating poverty and illiteracy by giving free education to those who could not afford it, as well as establishing schools for the flooded areas in the country. The Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation is one of the leading organizations in the country today that promotes the welfare of the youth.
For an organization that has accomplished a lot over the past two years, it is amazing to discover that the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation was founded by a teenager. Ghalib was 15 years old when he founded the organization, which was a result of realizing how there was so little that the government did to help the people.
Youth Service America and Commonwealth Photographic Awardee
For his extraordinary efforts in promoting the privileges and welfare of the youth, Ghalib has received a number of awards and recognitions, the most notable being included by Youth Service America in their list of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World, which simply shows just how much influence Ghalib has garnered through the past years of his philanthropic career. He has also been nominated for an Agahi Award and won a Commonwealth Photographic Award for his talents in presenting the difficult life in the country through still photography.
Ghalib loved to read, and it was through books that he found people who inspired and motivated him to do what he is doing today. And what’s even better is that Ghalib did not only stop with his desire, but actually acted on what he wanted to do. Ghalib wrote these words in a blog:
“It was my summer vacation and I had plenty of time to research some major masters of service to humanity like Mother Teresa, and how could I forget Abdul Sattar Edhi, the noblest person I have learned about? He's a great person to learn from. I saw his videos and interviews. I read articles about him and got to learn a lot about him. At the end of this, I was very inspired by his work for humanity. This gave me an urge to help the people around me. I would help them in their daily problems (financial or whatever) as I tried my best to serve people.”
Islam is Peace
A Muslim by birth, Ghalib strongly believes that Islam is a religion of peace, which he says is contrary to what many people think today. In many of his interviews, Ghalib defends his faith by saying that the core teaching of Islam is to live in peace. He once said in an interview:
“Peace is what our religion Islam is based upon. It is the religion of Peace. No one needs to find peace, once you are in peace you will find it. It dwells with you and you just need to discover and explore it. Everyone is a peace ambassador once he/she has discovered peace. Peace is the ultimate goal... as they say Rest in Peace.”
Ghalib finds inspiration in seeing the lives of the people whom his organization helped change. Ever since he started the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation, Ghalib has received numerous emails and other responses, which are filled with thanks from the people who have benefited from the work of Ghalib’s organization. A lot of times, when Ghalib feels a bit overburdened by the sheer amount of things that needs to be done, he simply looks back to all his accomplishments and uses them as a motivation to do more.
Aside from the countless thanks that he receives from the people who have been helped by his organization, Ghalib draws his strength from the undying hope that he sees in his country—Pakistan. A true patriot, Ghalib has recognized how the country has stood through the tests of time. In an interview with him, Ghalib says:
“My biggest inspiration is Pakistan itself. The country had been facing millions of problems since 64 years but it didn’t give up and never will it. The country is being betrayed by its own people but she loves them as a mother. I wonder what a great inspiration we have still we find it around us.”
Finally, Ghalib understands that the essence of being a good person is to simply find out the potential that you have in you and use it for something that will serve humanity. Ghalib firmly believes that real contentment and pleasure are not found in the material vastness of wealth, but in seeing lives changed for the better through the efforts that you make, no matter how small they may be. Ghalib says:
“You just need to lose yourself to find out who you [are] actually. Every human is talent. Even you are. Just one thing what we need to do is to discover that talent and once we find it we have to explore it. Being a good human is easy. Get lost in the service of humanity you will find the real pleasure of life and you would automatically turn into a good being.”
Ghalib Khalil’s Birth and Family Background
Ghalib Khalil was born in Sialkot, Pakistan in November 1994 to Muslim parents who raised Ghalib under the teachings of the Islam faith. Compared to those who were of radical groups—whose teachings about Islam focused on Jihad—Ghalib’s parents were quite conservative and trained their son in the aspect of peace and service. Ghalib’s parents taught him that Islam was not about making war with others, but about finding peace within yourself and with those around you. This teaching would go on to develop
Ghalib’s thought life, which would later on become the reason for zealously defending the religion.
As a young child living in the small village of Sialkot, Ghalib was surrounded by quite a difficult life due to the lack of learning centers and medical facilities. However, Ghalib was fortunate to have parents who ensured that Ghalib would have the opportunity to get educated. As a student, Ghalib was diligent and studious, which enabled him to become a top student in his class. It was also during his school years that Ghalib developed an interest in photography, something that he would later be known for. Ghalib was also into poetry and further nurtured that talent as he grew up.
Ghalib Serves Victims of Flood
In 2010, when Ghalib was 15 years old, tragedy struck the country of Pakistan that claimed the lives of some of his closest friends. Ghalib witnessed the devastation of the flood that swept the homes of many families and killed many people. What’s even worse was that there was little to none that the government was doing about it. In the midst of all this destruction and chaos, Ghalib was propelled into action.
What really moved Ghalib to do something was the memory of the friends he lost in the flood. When the government failed short in helping the bereaved families, Ghalib took the initiative to do something for his people without relying on their country’s assistance. This made Ghalib question the very essence of being a public servant. Ghalib started asking himself, “What is service?” In a blog Ghalib wrote years later, he stated:
“Three years ago, I had no idea how we serve this planet—this universe and the creatures within it. This was just because I was quite young, or maybe I had no interest to find out more about it. But in 2010, due to some personal matters, I had to divert my mind to avoid depression. I decided to find out—to investigate how one actually serves. What is service and much more…”
Skype and Facebook Brought the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation to Existence
In spite of wanting to do something, Ghalib was quite apprehensive at first, primarily because of his age, thinking how little influence he would make as a young leader. And so, during a Skype session with his teacher, Ghalib asked for advice on how he could be of help to the families who were affected. Ghalib’s teacher advised him to organize a platform for volunteers and those who wanted to donate for the victims. With this idea the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation was born. Starting out in Facebook, Ghalib shared his plans and ideas with his friends and asked them to help him spread the message of the foundation to others.
Initially, Ghalib was not so optimistic about the outcome of his project. He was not so sure whether or not people would take him seriously considering his very young age. However, he felt more confident as words of encouragement and appreciation started flooding in. Hundreds of people were willing to join and support the aims of the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation.
Ghalib later on recalled the beginnings of his philanthropic work:
“Being young and alone, I had to think of ways to get across the message. Now the only tools I had were my cellphone, my laptop, and the Internet. I had to use all that in the best way possible to get the work started. The first thing I did was use Facebook to get the message across. I had friends who ran several Facebook fan pages, some of which had thousands of fans. I asked them to get my message across and they helped me a lot. I shared my contact information so that those who were interested could contact me to donate or volunteer. This worked out way better than I thought. I had hundreds of donors and volunteers. This was the first step towards the real success and it gave me courage and motivation to work more.”
It was more than Ghalib had expected. Soon enough, with the support of the volunteers who gave their time and effort, Ghalib began a door-to-door donation drive to collect funds so they can help the families who were affected by the flood. Aside from this, Ghalib began to get in touch with international companies and shared the vision of the organization with them, to which the companies readily responded with delight after seeing the mission of Ghalib’s team.
Furthermore, Ghalib established connections with local non-governmental organizations in Pakistan to further organize the relief operations. Through social media and personally talking to the leaders of these organizations, Ghalib was able to fully utilize all means of helping his fellow Pakistanis. This made the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation among the very first ones who truly responded to the incident. Ghalib later recalled how he was able to unite the local NGOs in his country in a blog:
“I used the formula of Unity is Strength and called up a Skype meeting with many of the founders of different little groups working on the same cause. I proposed that if we all unite together, we can work in a much better and more efficient way, so that there would be a proper check on the usage of the money. People would get the food packs and help, when otherwise, if different groups worked in same area this might have caused a big confusion. This way we collectively raised a huge sum of money, it was all our teamwork which helped us do it.”
The Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation Becomes a Leading NGO
Since then, the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation has grown tremendously and received huge sums of donations which they used to build schools and give free education to the poor. Through the support of thousands of people who have joined the organization, the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation grew to become one of the leading non-governmental organizations in the country today.
Ghalib’s success in his work with the Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation did not go unnoticed. In 2012, he was honored by Youth Service America as one of the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World. Aside from his philanthropic work, Ghalib’s photography skills were also noticed two years prior when he won the Commonwealth Photography Competition, which he claimed to have been his biggest achievement back then. He said in an interview:
“It was my dream to live a life like how stars lived. Wherever you go, they give you VIP protocol and you are the only ones who are on the spotlight and you have your personal secretary around. I lived it up. Yes I did when in 2010 I won the international Photography Competition, I was invited to UK for a week by the Commonwealth, the organization is run by the queen, so she gave me all that was in my dream for a week. It was surely once in a life time.”
Currently, Ghalib is looking to complete his studies and pursue a career in politics. Throughout his life, Ghalib has been an excellent example of what it means to really serve. Everyone has a desire to help his neighbor, but this desire should be backed by action. Secondly, you do not have to expect anything material in return for helping others. The beautiful smiles on the faces of the people you have touched is a powerful compensation that reminds you what really counts—people.
“Volunteerism is one of the best things a person could ever do. Volunteerism helps one find him/herself. There are many times while volunteering you start getting bored and feel quite annoyed [with] what you do but surely that’s [the] devil because even Allah loves volunteers as they are those who spend their time for the welfare of others. I had a good will power and was determined to do what I aimed, I used technology and digital media to the extent I could and managed to raise a big sum of money which was later utilized the best way to help the flood victims.”
Organizations and Programmes Supported
- Rescue Pakistan Youth Foundation
- Friends Without Borders
Awards and Achievements
- 2010: Received the Commonwealth Photographic Award
- 2012: Received the Agahi Award for Man Asian Literary Prize
- 2012: Included in the 25 Most Powerful and Influential Young People in the World by Youth Service America