Unfortunately, internationally Pakistanis are only known for their misogynistic comments, ferocious attitudes and illiterateness.

“Imagine that every time you have a lapse in judgment, it gets printed in newspapers around the world. Every time you lose patience with your children, every time you scream at someone in traffic, every time you drink too much and do something you regret. Each time you slip up, everyone hears about it. The world is never notified about the 99.99% of the time that you are a completely normal, productive, law-abiding citizen. The world only learns about you when things go wrong. Now imagine what the world would think of you,” said Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York (HONY) during his visit to Pakistan this July.

It’s not that our country isn’t battling with terrorism, cruelty and bigotry. We struggle with extremism every single day, but unfortunately this is all that we are known for. The most gripping story about Pakistan in the newspaper tends to be the most violent one and in this ongoing cycle, the minor stories that paint a picture of hope and resilience are lost.

14-year-old Abdul Jabbar’s family moved from Khyber Pakhtunkwa to Lahore six years ago. Like every other typical Pakistanis, Jabbar likes to eat biryani and watch movies but unlike every other 14 year old, he works 10 hours a day along with his seven brothers to support his family of 13.

“I have five elder brothers and none of them goes to school. The three of us sell clothes at our father’s makeshift stall in Khalid Market in Model Town while the other two work as waiters. By the end of the month, we all barely earn enough to make our ends meet” Jabbar told The Nation.

Due to inflation and price hike many children are under pressure from their families to earn for running the kitchen. Statistics show that at present, one quarter of the country’s workforce is made up of child labourers.

In the ongoing battle between hunger and provision of basic necessities many children are deprived of their education and thus the pleasure of their childhood. These children can only watch their age fellows go to schools and can merely wish to seek knowledge.

At least that’s the case for every 7 out of 8 child that I came across at Khalid market.

However, Abdul Jabbar is different. “Ever since I was little boy, I have always wanted to become a doctor. I know it’s a long shot but I am never going to give up on my dream.”

Abdul Jabbar is the only brother who goes to school, after extreme persuasion he finally managed to convince his dad and has been attending the Lahore Cadet School since 2007. He is an 8th grader who wishes to take science subjects for his matriculation exams next year.

“Most of my friends at school work too; they serve as shopkeepers, waiters, and gardeners. We all sit together for lunch and talk about serving our country and becoming doctors one day. We want to make sure that our children don’t end up living in the same conditions as we do and have a proper chance at life,” the boy said.

It’s inspiring to witness such rage and passion for education in a person despite all the hurdles and objectives he has to face every day. He wishes to help all the people in need, and he’s so focused that he forces himself to follow a routine that most of us can’t even think of committing to.

He wakes up at 6:30 every day in the morning, and after offering Fajr prayers, heads off to his school which is a 15-minute walk from their one bedroom apartment. After concentrating at school from 8 to 2, he spends the next 10 hours at the stall.

The day doesn’t end here, after such a busy day he comes back home and revises his school work from 12 to 3.

“I want Abdul to pursue all his dreams. It’ll be a bit difficult to convince our dad since he wants Abdul to drop out of school next year. He thinks that as long as he has learned to write his name, there’s no point of further educating him, but I am sure that my brothers and I will somehow manage to convince him,” the elder brother, Danish Jabbar said.

As a wise man once said education is not preparation for life; it is life itself.

We should be feeling proud of our young people who work 10 hours a day but never give up on their education and end up miraculously succeeding in life. There are so many success stories around us that we need to show to the world that we are a resolute nation.

We, as Pakistanis should be known for our ability to hang on to that tinniest beam of hope in the darkest of times and our capability to strive.