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How This Teenager From The Bhalaswa Slum Became A Badass Inventor

By Anindita Chakraborty:

One look at Mohd Hasan, and he comes across as a regular teenager studying in school. But spend some time with him and you will realize that this little boy possesses an extraordinarily sharp brain. He is happy working on science models and is a scientist in the making.

Hasan is the youngest in a family of five. His parents are waste pickers, living in a slum cluster near the Bhalaswa Landfill, in North Delhi. At a very young age, he started accompanying his parents to the landfill for waste picking. But he was more interested in making toys out of the waste materials than adding to the family income. Presently, he is studying in Class 9 in the nearby government school at Libaspur. His progress in school had not been smooth and he was finding it difficult to cope with formal schooling. He failed a few times and in 2015, got enrolled in the Chintan Learning Centre, Bhalaswa, to seek help with his studies.

The senior trainees at the centre identified his latent talent during a Science Fest in 2016, where he astonished everyone with his talent and his grasp of the difficult concepts of gravity, motions, energy etc at such a young age. He was motivated enough to make basic science models, using common materials available around him. He designed static cars, ships etc. But this was just the beginning and he wished to make something more substantial. With encouragement from the facilitators at the Learning Centre, he grew in confidence and started helping his friends with their science projects. Very soon, Hasan, who had been dubbed a failure by his parents, peers, neighbours and teachers, became their favourite.

In the summer of 2017, he asked his father to get a room cooler. But due to their financial constraints, his father could not provide him with the same. He decided to design a small experimental cooler for himself. With the help of his facilitators at the centre, he started to collect basic parts like motor, pipes, fans, electric switches from the waste material. He carefully observed the concept at one of the local cooler shops for many days and after a period of one month, through trials and failures, he eventually came out triumphant. He successfully designed a portable room cooler. You can see him explain his working model of a cooler here –

Science classes at the Chintan Learning Centre, sponsored by Oracle, opened up a whole new world to Hasan and turned him into a winner. It was sheer dedication and perseverance which helped him stay focused and achieve his target. This story reiterates the fact that every child is special in his or her own way and has to be encouraged to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

In the words of Hasan – “This is just the beginning of my journey. I want to become a mechanical engineer.” For him, impossible is nothing. Here’s wishing him all the success in life.