ISLAMABAD – With an unshakable confidence, Hammad Safi speaks into a microphone and lectures his audience on overcoming inner doubts and fears as the 12-year-old, who has become a celebrity and internet sensation in Pakistan, coaches them on motivation.
The wonder kid’s communication skills have earned Safi the title of “Little Professor” and a fame that crosses the borders of Pakistan with his visits for talks in Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
But the greatest asset of the fearless orator is his age that captivates his listeners, some of whom could as well be more than twice his age. Safi is invited for talks at colleges and universities nationwide in Pakistan.
He dresses elegantly when he delivers lectures, his hand gestures make him sound more intelligible than his age, empowering his motivational talks and leaving his audiences in awe.
“When people see me in a lecture, they get inspired just watching me, because I am so young,” said Safi, the youngest of six children of a Pakistani businessman.
He is already an online star. His Youtube channel has almost 600,000 subscribers. Some of his videos, in Urdu, have been viewed millions of times. On Facebook, he has more than two million followers.
Safi began giving motivational talks at the age of eight after enrolling in the University of Spoken English and Computer Sciences – an institute specializing in languages and technology with emphasis on public speaking.
“My teachers motivated me and inspired me to work for Pakistan,” Safi said.
His talks are mainly focused on education in a country where 40 percent of its 207 million people are illiterate and 20 million children do not go to school.
Pakistan’s “biggest problem,” Safi says, is illiteracy.
And that is why he mostly inspires his young audience to go to schools, get educated, attain the wisdom of knowledge.
Safi believes that there is a lot of talent in his country, but that young Pakistanis don’t know their potential and channel their energies.
To learn how to do that, he advises them to read biographies of world leaders and read from universities around the world using internet and listen to some of the greatest speakers in the world on Youtube.
At a motivational talk organized at his residence in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, Safi urges his audience of some 30 people that they should always wear positive attitude, reject fears and be undeterred by challenges.
“Whatever the long term goal you have in your life, divide it into short term goals,” he said.
The enraptured audience, boys between 11 and 23, follow his words closely.
“I learnt so much from him, like positive thinking and how I can build my future,” Zabih Ullah, one of the listeners, told EFE.
After attending his motivational lectures, Zabih Ullah, an 18-year-old student of an Islamic seminary, said he had decided to extend his studies beyond religion now.
Naqeeb ul Rehman, 22, believes that when speaking to Safi it is like “he is giving you some kind of power. I can get whatever I want.”
Other students felt motivated enough with the little wonder’s success at such a small age, something they now believe they can also achieve.
“I think if he can do what he is doing at this age why can’t,” asked Mohamed Ibrahim, a 23-year-old art student who wants to become an Islamic scholar.
Safi explained to his students that he starts his day at 5 am with some workout, prayer and then studies.
His day is governed by an 18-hour schedule which includes 10 to 12 hours of study.
He is currently learning Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Chinese and English.
“Whenever I get free time, I play cricket, football, videogames,” he said.
In August, Safi plans to hold events in Turkey, where he expects to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
With fame, Safi’s ambitions have grown too. “I want to be a leader of Pakistan. And world leader,” he said without a shred of humility.