Life is like a canvass, and sometimes a kind act of a stranger can alter the complexion of the painting. I am Ahmad Raza graduated from batch 21, and canvass of my life was touched by the generous hands in GIKIAA. I belong to a village 40KM west of Gujranwala, and was the first person who attended an engineering school from the whole village of 2000 people. During my pre-engineering days, somebody told me about GIKI being one of the best engineering school in Pakistan, and me being an oblivious boy ignored our lack of financial means, and made it my dream engineering school and hoped to get a scholarship. I successfully passed the entry test of GIKI, but failed to convince the scholarship committee that I deserve a need base scholarship. As a young boy, my heart was completely shattered when my mother, who was battling 3rd stage of cancer at that time, somehow convinced my father to pay my first year fee by selling a piece of land. Finally, I joined GIKI on September 3rd, 2011 after paying my annual dues. A week after I left for GIKI, the health of my mother further deteriorated and she got admitted to hospital. My family took loans to pay for hospital bills, but even before the mid break of my first semester, she passed away. That was an indescribable loss, and emotional trauma. Moreover, we didn’t only lose her, we were also broke. During the first year in GIKI, there were times when I had no money to pay for my daily meals, and I was struggling both mentally and financially. Although I was not sure how I am going to pay the fee for comingacademic year, I didn’t let my studies to get affected by all this chaos in life and secured a good CGPA. In such bleak times, I came to know about GIKIAA’s fee assistance program, and it appeared as a light in the darkest hour for me.
I immediately applied for GIKIAA’s assistance program and got invited for an interview in Islamabad. I still remember a kind and friendly attitude of interviewers led by Mr. Kamran Kundi (then president of GIKIAA). It seemed like they understood the hardships I was going through. In a lighter mood, one of the interviewer asked me, “What can you accomplish if you get the scholarship?” Unintentionally, I replied, “I can get the faculty gold medal from GIKI,” and there were some smiles. That was the summary of my interview at least for me. Afterwards, I was extremely anxious about the outcome of the interview, and praying to get some assistance as my future in GIKI was relying on it. I still remember the day when I received a call from GIKIAA during the summer break, and they told me that they will fund my studies in GIKI for the rest three years. I accomplished so much in life, but I can’t remember a single day when I was morehappy and relieved than that day. I walked one mile under the sun of July to give this news to my worried father who was working in the farms. It was truly amazing and life changing moment of my life.
How did this act ofkindness change my life? It provided me an opportunity to continue my studies at GIKI. There, as a boy who came from a rural government school among a class of students coming from top schools around the country, I challenged myself to compete and fulfill promise I made with myself and the people at GIKIAA. It was a bumpy road ahead, but the worst was behind me. Finally, in year 2015, on 21st convocation ceremony, I graduated as a faculty gold medalist from GIKI in the field of Materials Engineering. I am not sure if the guys in GIKIAA would have remember my words, but this was the least I could have done to show my gratitude. I always dedicated that accomplishment to the compassionate people who are linked with GIKIAA.
Afterwards, I secured admission in a renowned engineering school (ranked 13th in world in the department of Materials Science and Engineering), KAIST, South Korea to pursue master’s degree. There, I published 5 scientific articles in renowned international peer-reviewed journals. Nowadays, I am employed as a PhD research student (Doktorand) at Chalmers university of Technology working on the metal 3D printing and innovation in modern manufacturing technology.
This is how an act of graciousness changed my life from the time when I was about to quit GIKI to the time where I am aiming to be an accomplished researcher. If the generosity of GIKIAA would not have touched the canvass of my life, I personally cannot imagine the possible painting in that scenario. I salute the efforts of all the GIKIAA members, and appreciate the big-heartedness of all the contributors. These guys are not changing the life of an individual but the generations. In the horrifying times of COVID19, let’s not forget all those needy students under the wing of GIKIAA. Rest assured, you are contributing for a real change.