In the United States, January 17, birth date of Benjamin Franklin, is celebrated as the day of child inventors in the country. Franklin was 12 years old when he invented the swimming fins, a device which is used even today.
Many other inventors have claimed that some of their best ideas came to them when they were young. Children can be very innovative because they see things differently than grownups.
And while Afghanistan does not observe this day, we would still like to bring to you the story of a young Afghan inventor who is paving the way for a bright future for this country. Our Citizen Journalist Ibrahim Tawala met with 15-year old Hussain Dad from Bamiyan province, the young Afghan talent who rose to face when a video of one of his inventions went viral on social media. Already with three inventions under his belt, the teenager is full of more ideas that, with enough financial backing, will see the light of the day.
Husain Dad seems like any other 15-year-old in Afghanistan. He shares the same sorrow and happiness as any of the other kids in his neighbourhood. These shared values may have made them the same, but their fates are not the same. With minutes of meeting Hussain Dad, you will realize that he is different from other children. When he guides you to his little workshop, where he keeps his equipments such as electric devices, wood, plastic pipes, old mobile pieces, radio, type and screwdrivers, it may seem that you are interacting with an older, much experienced man who is narrating the story of his life journey.
Husasin Dad was born to Muhammad Haidar from the Sabz ab Kalo village of Shibar district in the central Bamyam province. Their village is located in the Kalo valley, and is surrounded by high mountains, making difficult to access. Their village has very little agricultural land. Dad could never have imagine that one day he would become so famous across Afghanistan.
This class 9 student walks nearly 4 hours everyday to travel to his school and back. He also works in the fields with his father. And yet, despite the tight schedule, he finds time to work on his ideas and has, thus far, built three projects: an excavator, a roller, and a missile that can target up to a range of 4 kms. The excavator is a miniature device that can perform all actions of a actual excavator. Similarly, the roller is made up of two machines that allows it to move forward and backward, and pummel the ground. And finally, the missile has the capacity to target upto 3 to 4 kms. He made all of this using very basic and easily available parts. He informs that it took him upto three years to build these machines as well as the missile.
While explaining more about his inventions to me, Dad took me outside for a live demonstration.
He demonstrated the use of his very first creation, the excavator. His designs were inspired from the larger machines that he witnessed during the construction work in his district. However, unlike the fuel consuming machines, his device runs on syringes full of water.
Similarly, the roller was battery operated and functioned on two old reused engines. The first engine pummels the ground, while the second one is used to move the roller forward and backward. The roller even featured a wooden gear, and the device that pummels the ground was made of a bottle and a vacuum.
The missile, or the ‘champion of Kolo’ as Dad calls it, on the other hand, is made of wood, and plastic pipes. The missile was empty, but it has a metal pipe at the end that throws bullets in to the missile. A mixture of potassium nitrate, sulfur and carbone was used to propel the rocket. This chemical mixture, along with an additional battery, propelled the rocket to a long hurtle.
Interestingly, Dad mentions that unlike his other two creations, this is not an imitation. In fact, he has never even seen a missile, but instead used his imagination to build the missile.
Hussain Dad further reiterates that the missile was not made for military purposes, rather he want to use it for the research purposes in space. This is why the bullet of the missile is empty now and will be used for to send people into space, he explains.
Hussain Dad’s father, Muhammad Haidar, who is a carpenter and a construction worker, speaks of his son with much pride. He shares that Dad has always had a highly creative and intuitive mind ever since he was a kid. He further narrates that when Hussain Dad was in class 2, 3, and 4, he would spend hours assembling and dissembling radios, tape recorders and clocks. He would try to find faults in these devices and then fix them. He would also replace parts of these devices.
Dad has also made an airplane. Its wings are made of wood and engine made of a machine used in the tape recorders. A mobile phone battery is used to run the engine of the airplane. However, the airplane can fly with difficulties. He said that there was a lack of raw material to make the airplane easily fly.
Dad says that while he has not consulted anyone while making these machines, he does find motivation with his father and elder brother, who encouraged his creativity and allowed him enough time to work on his innovations. He termed these inventions as his own intellectual growth and interest and said that if conditions are met and facilities are provided, he was ready to make the real machines.
However, few organisations have so far come forward to support Dad. One of them has pledged to support Dad and help incubate his talents.
(Resource: Raziya Masumi Edited by Enayat Azad)