Ananda Siksha Niketan, India
At age 18, Babar Ali is perhaps India’s youngest headmaster. Babar shares his passion for learning with other children from his village who cannot go to school due to extreme poverty. Even though public schools are free in India, many families are not able to pay for the uniforms, book, and transportation fees to and from school for their children. Babar was lucky that his family valued education and were able to afford to send him to school, but not all of his friends had the same opportunity. Babar started teaching his peers when he was just 9 years old. He started with eight students, and he simply taught them what he learned in class that day. Today he heads a volunteer staff of 10 teachers that provide lessons for free in Babar’s family’s yard. Currently, 400 students come as far as 6 miles away to attend classes. Without Babar’s school, these children would have no opportunity to receive an education.