Ali Haider, 23
Co-founder Humans of Pakistan
It is very difficult to make a positive impact and change lives of millions of people. Ali, the co-founder of Pakistan’s biggest photo journalism blog – Humans of Pakistan (HOP), is doing just that.
Back when Ali was in the 5th grade, his family moved to Haroonabad from Lahore where circumstances became unfavorable for his family. His father went bankrupt, that is when the hardships started. Ali, who had always studied in elite private institutions, had to resort to lesser-known public schools. Working several odd jobs, Ali raised enough money to put himself through college. By the time he passed his Intermediate exam., his family had shifted to Islamabad. Ali took admission in Bahria University and to fund it, he worked in a social media firm.
This particular job stint and the struggles he had faced during his early teens compelled him to open up a social media platform that could provide a voice to people who had been through similar hardships. In 2013, inspired by Humans of New York, Ali started Humans of Pakistan with his friends.
Considering all the negativity on social media these days, Ali is hitting all the right notes with his gripping story telling. With about half a million followers, his stories have an immeasurable impact and can be a force of good in our society. The team of HOP now comprises of 6 people with 300 volunteers spread across Pakistan. The team not only focuses on telling stories but also doing some actual ground work. They have helped fund education of 27 children and have taken up the monetary responsibility of 19 families. The funds they generate are mostly through their blog audience.
This year Ali was selected among the 15 Emerging Leaders of Pakistan – a fellowship program by the Atlantic Council and US Department of State for people making a real difference in their society. Recently, Humans of Pakistan also joined hands with UN Women for a campaign on activism against gender-based violence. But the road doesn’t end for him here. HOP has partnered with several organizations and he plans to build a Solar Village, Medical Lab and Schools for the under-privileged. He is ambitious yet humble, resilient and a fighter, strongly motivated by his past, who will go a long way.