Arfa Karim Randhawa was born to a respected family in Faisalabad, Pakistan, on February 2, 1995. Arfa began to become interested in the computer world after her father bought her a computer. In 2004, Arfa was honored with the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) award in the world at the age of 9 years. One year after being awarded the certification, Arfa was invited by Bill Gates to visit Microsoft’s headquarters in America. Accompanied by his father (Amjad Karim Randhawa), Arfa gained his first experience going abroad at that time.
Arfa left a deep impression when meeting with Gates and other Microsoft executives with knowledge of in-depth programming at a young age (10 years).
After returning from Microsoft headquarters, Arfa’s popularity immediately jumped, he got various invitations and interviews on radio and television stations. On August 2, 2005, Arfa was awarded the Fatimah Jinna Gold Medal in the field of science and technology received from the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz at the 113th anniversary of Fatimah Jinnah’s birth.
He also won the Salaam Pakistan Youth Award in 2005 given directly by the President of Pakistan. Arfa is the first young person to get this award given to citizens who have contributed to the country in the field of science.
In addition, Arfa also won the Presidential Award for Pride of Performance. One other interesting thing is that Arfa got permission to fly an aircraft at the age of 10 through one of the aviation clubs in Dubai.
Arfa also represented Pakistan in various international forums, he was also an honored guest at the Dubai IT Professional conference which was held for two weeks in Dubai. During the trip, Arfa was awarded various awards from various technology communities and computer companies operating in Dubai. During his trip, he received many awards and prizes. It was also on this trip that for the first time he flew a plane by joining an aviation club at the age of only 10 years and received an official flight certificate.
In 2006, Arfa attended the Tech-Ed Developers Conference conference held in the city of Barcelona at the initiative of Microsoft. He was the only software developer to represent Pakistan at a conference attended by more than 5,000 software developers worldwide.
Arfa participated as a Microsoft keynote speaker at the event. The theme of the conference was “Get ahead of the game” and at that time Arfa provided an excellent illustration to position Microsoft as the leader in “Game”.
However, in the midst of so much success, Arfa had a sudden heart attack and suffered seizures due to epilepsy that attacked his brain. On December 22, 2011, Arfa Karim was taken to the Integrated Military Hospital in the city of Lahore in critical condition. When Bill Gates received news about Arfa, Gates paid special attention by appointing his personal physician directly to take any steps to cure Arfa Karim and offering to cover all costs of Arfa’s care in the US. Bill Gates held direct long-distance talks with international doctors and local Pakistani doctor. In the talk the disease and its healing efforts were revealed. International doctors recommend moving Arfa to a hospital in the US, but local doctors reject the transfer on the grounds that Arfa is in a ventilator and in critical condition.
On January 13, 2012, Arfa Karim showed signs of improvement. According to doctors, the EEG report had given hope that some parts of the brain had shown better development. However, after 26 days being treated at the Integrated Military Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, this genius girl from Pakistan breathed her last on Saturday night January 14, 2012 at the age of 16.
Funeral prayers were given on Sunday in Lahore before his body was taken to his native village of Ram Dewali, Faisalabad, to be buried.
Many people including MPR Chairperson Shahbaz Sharif, ministers, politicians, and friends of Karim came to support the family during Arfa’s funeral procession.
Arfa’s short life provides a picture of Pakistan’s growing growth with its information technology, where information technology is the only industry that gives hope to young people who are frustrated by the high unemployment and lack of employment opportunities in Pakistan. Arfa’s father, Amjad Karim said that Arfa was very concerned about using his skills to help young people and people from the village.
A monument erected in honor of Arfa and IT Media City in Karachi is dedicated under the name Arfa Karim IT Media City, Karachi.
Although Arfa is still very young, he has a broad perspective in developing technology. There are even some Arfa expressions cited by many Pakistani and American media. One very famous quote is “If you want to do something big in your life, you must remember that shyness is only in the mind. If you think shy, you act shy. If you think confident, you act confident.”
Apart from Arfa’s remarkable list of achievements, “He is also good at singing and making poetry,” his father said. Pakistan and the world have really lost very rare diamonds.