THE BOY WHO
In a small village somewhere not known by
much of the people, there was a boy named Ali.
He turned seven years old this year. He was
well-liked by the villagers because he was a
polite and hardworking boy. Ali was the only
child to an old couple in that village. He did not
have a wealthy family and his parents struggled
each day to make ends meet. Ali’s parents were
farmers. They planted many kinds of vegetables
such as long beans, brinjals, pumpkins and
many more. After the crops were harvested, they
would sell it around the neighbourhood.
However, it did not stop him from treating his
parents with much respect and love. Knowing
how much hardships his parents had to go
through, Ali always volunteered to help them
out to ease their burden. He helped them to
plant, water and harvest and sell the vegetables.
Not only that, he also did the household chores
whenever he had free time. Ali’s thoughtfulness
made his parents so happy and relieved to have
One day, when he was helping his father to
sell crops from house to house, he saw a
primary school in the neighbourhood. Kids
around his age usually attended school during
the weekdays. However, Ali could not attend
school because he came from a poor family
which could not afford his tuition fees. Even so,
Ali was still interested in attending school just
like his peers. He wanted to experience going to
school and learning together with his friends.
“It must be fun going to school, right dad?” said
Ali. “Sorry son, mom and I can’t afford to let you
go to school because we are poor, '' dad replied.
Right after that, Ali felt bad for saying that
because he made his parents feel guilty for
being poor. So, Ali avoided the topic about
school when talking to his parents.
Despite Ali’s family financial situation, he
still wanted to experience education just like his
friends. When he was selling crops as usual, an
idea came to his head. “Maybe I can join the
class with my friends too if I join them from
outside of the classroom, '' said Ali to himself.
He quickly sold all of the crops then he rushed
to the school. He went to the classroom that is
the nearest to the school fence and he peeked
through the fences to see what the teacher was
Even though he could not see nor hear well, he
was still determined to follow the lesson. He
looked around the ground to search for a wood
stick so that he could write down what was on
the board. While the teacher was teaching, he
used the wood stick to write some “notes” on the
ground. Ali kept on doing this almost every day
after he had done helping his parents. He never
felt bored or discouraged to learn even though
he could not participate directly in the
classroom like the rest of the kids.
Weeks after weeks passed by, Ali was still
persistent to learn from the outside of the
classroom. His actions caught the attention of
the headmaster of the school, Mr. Valentine. Mr.
Valentine had been observing Ali for quite some
time before decided to approach him. While Ali
was focusing on the lesson, the headmaster
approached him quietly.
“What’s your name?” Mr. Valentine broke the
silence. Ali was startled by the sudden presence
of an unfamiliar man. “I-” Ali stuttered. He lost
his word because he was scared that he would
get scolded for sneaking around the school
compound. As he was too anxious, he ran away.
“Wait! I just wanted to talk to you”, Mr. Valentine
shouted. But, it was too late because Ali was
already out of his sight.
A few days later, Mr. Valentine saw Ali
walking around with a basket of vegetables. He
walked toward Ali and said “Hey, I recognise
you. You’re the boy that’s always at my school
compound”. Ali bowed his head down, feeling
guilty and did not dare to meet the man’s eyes.
“Don’t be scared of me. I’m not going to scold
you but I want to ask you a few questions”. As he
said that, Ali stared at his face, feeling confused.
“I noticed that you’re always at the same spot
every day. What are you doing? And why?” Mr.
“I’m poor and my parents can’t afford my
education. So, I thought that I can learn from a
distance without paying for it.” Ali said slowly
while avoiding eye contact with the man. Mr.
Valentine was touched by the statement given
by Ali. He admired Ali’s determination to learn
and did not let his family’s condition stop him
from learning. “Do you love learning that
much?” Mr. Valentine asked. Ali answered
without hesitation “Yes, of course!” Mr.
Valentine carved a smile on his face and he
thought of an idea.
On the same day, Mr. Valentine went to Ali’s
house to meet his parents. He told Ali’s parents
about what their son did at school. “So, I would
like to sponsor his education because I can see
his dedication in learning after observing him
for a while,” said Mr. Valentine. They were
shocked yet happy by the statements given by
the headmaster. “Ali can come to school starting
next week. Worry not, all the fees will be paid by
me,” he added. They were so grateful for Mr.
The following week, Ali went to school with a
big smile on his face. He was so happy that he
could finally enter the classroom to learn
together with his peers. He did not have to
sneak around the school fences anymore.
School was fun for Ali because he had good
friends and teachers that always helped him in
Many years later, Ali became successful in his
career and life. He had a good career and a
happy family thanks to Mr. Valentine for giving
him the chance back then. Now, Ali did the same
to the kids in the village by giving sponsorship
for education to those who are in need.