This portrait of Arfa Karim Randhawa, by Dan DeLong, accompanied my Seattle P-I story about her 2005 Microsoft visit.

[Update Jan. 14: Arfa has passed away, according to reports from Pakistan. See our follow-up story: Arfa Karim Randhawa, 1995-2012: Hear her philosophy of life]

Back in 2005, working for the Seattle P-I newspaper, I got a chance to meet and write a story about an incredible 10-year-old girl from Pakistan named Arfa Karim Randhawa, who was then the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional in the world. She was visiting the Microsoft campus to meet Bill Gates and other Microsoft executives.

So this was some very tough news to see this morning: Arfa, now 16, is in critical condition after suffering an epileptic seizure. Doctors don’t believe she will survive.

As I wrote in the story about her visit to Redmond, She made an impression through a combination of charm, flattery and boldness uncommon for someone her age. For example, during Arfa’s meeting with Gates, she presented him with a poem she wrote that celebrated his life story. But she also questioned him about what she perceived to be the relatively small proportion of women on the campus.

In short, she is a remarkable person. She is also very thoughtful, and after the article ran, she made a point of keeping in touch with me via email. It was fun to periodically get messages from her out of the blue, updating me on her progress in school and her plans for the future.

Arfa was extremely proud of her accomplishment as the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional, even including the phrase “Youngest MCP in the World” in her email signature line. So a few years ago, when a 9-year-old from India broke her record, I sent Arfa a link and asked her what she thought.

I went back this morning and found her response …

“This is the first time I’ve seen this story. But I must say that I’m really happy to have read it. This is exactly what I had been wishing for ever since I got to bring laurels for my country. I am very glad to see that people are following what I did and have succeeded in beating me. I don’t know whether you’ve heard or not but a boy, named Bilal, from Gujranwala in Pakistan also became a Microsoft Certified Professional at the age of nine. I would say that the other youngsters should follow suit, thereby convincing the people to take us kids seriously. Our generation is very talented and so should be promoted.”

She was 13 at the time, and working hard in school in hopes of attending her “dream university,” MIT, where she wanted to study computer science.

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Anonymous


    • DMZ928

      you must have had a harsh life either that or you just a complete piece of shit.

      • Anonymous

        why does she deserve any more sympathy or attention than any of the other millions of sick children on this planet?? 

        Exactly. She doesn’t.

        Why should her relationship with Microsoft have anything to do with how much sympathy she receives?

        It shouldn’t.

        She’s ill…yes that’s very sad but it has nothing to do with any of us. nor is it anything to do with MS

        • IWatchOver

          Why does she deserve it? 

          Perhaps because she was smarter than you, perhaps because she made an impact on people that other sick kids don’t. Perhaps it is because the world is being deprived of a genius child that could have made a great difference that might have directly impacted your life.

          That’s why. 

          It may not have any direct impact on MS, but the crap that flows from your idiotic mouth is not needed here. So shut up and find somewhere else to bitch.

          • Sohail

            What a reply! I must say “WOW”, We all pray for young Arifa!

          • 1094210

            teri ma ko lun benchod gashti kbache

          • Anonymous

            Smarter than me? You don’t even know me so…. bit of a pointless statement there. Genius child? Please, anyone can do that if their parents are pushy enough.

            Kindly take your offensive comments elsewhere they aren’t welcome

        • Luis García

          I’m not saying she should get more sympathy, but she should at least get some, as should all the other children suffering.

          • Anonymous

            Where are all their articles on the internet though?

          • Zain Dar

            So just because other children’s suffering doesn’t get mentioned, this kid doesn’t deserve any? You have a really wicked way of thinking. I hope you are not this pathetic in real life. 

        • FatherFigure

          Exceptional stories like these, about unusual people, teach us how to have compassion and understanding for everyday people who find themselves in the same situation.  Apparently this isn’t illustrated so much with you.

          • Anonymous

            I’m going to save my sympthaties for people I actually know. I can do more for people I know that live in my own country than I can for someone I don’t know nor will ever meet

          • Mich Rousseau

            No compassion. No humanity. I feel sorry for you (even though I don’t know you)

          • Anonymous

            I have compassion but I fail to see why the fact she is a certified microsoft whatever is relevant…..

            Not sure what my sympathies or compassion will actually do for her…I save my energy to help people directly

          • Anonymous

            I have a suggestion. Perhaps you can save even more of your people-helping energy by reallocating time spent here. I cannot help but think that the people — the ones you save energy to help, directly — will appreciate it at least as much as we would.

            You might also spend time reconsidering your definition of compassion.


          • Eddy

            Why bother making a comment on a social site then?!!

          • Yc6email

            So he can show what a moron he really is…

          • Dashash1

            While I appreciate that you have the ability to be compassionate, I am sorry for your ignorance.  People like this are the ones who change the world. I would assume your position does little to make a difference for the world as this girl in her short years has….  

          • Anonymous

            Change the world? Come off it!

            You have no idea what I do. I’m not going to discuss it but believe me when I say I do more for the world than a “certified microsoft whatever” will or even CAN do.

  • Guest

    Sad story.

  • PP

    Prayers said..

    • Anonymous

      Why don’t you actually DO something instead? Why even waste your time?

  • Michelle Helen

    soooooooooo if there’s no one that can help her, this needs to go to a list for researchers to fix. Blunt, but to the point. Every child should get the chance to grow up.

    • JasonGW

      Every child *should*, but not every child will. It’s sad and tragic–but it’s life, and we’ll never be able to make that guarantee. There are simply too many variables.

  • Adriel Dennis Mingo

    I hope she recovers! I wanted to be just like those kids when I was younger (a Microsoft Certified Professional that is) I’m still young though and my goal to work at MSFT someday.

  • Zafar kazmi

    She will recover soon.. our prayers are with her

  • Syedirshadhussainshah

    i pray for her and say to mr.gates help her.

  • Sonora18

    life is not over with epilepsy I have lived a great life with it despite the restrictions from driving and family thinking that one can’t do anything fun anymore. BUT it is a well known and medically proven point that watching a computer screen because of the lights and colors and movements can be a factor in epilepsy, with this said I hope she didn’t stay so focused on computers that she caused herself to bring on the epilepsy problems.

  • Spooja53

    that girl murdabad hehehehheh bitch arfa fuck urs ass.

  • Shauna Causey

    Wow. Thank you for sharing, Todd.

  • Steven Kwan
    • Anonymous

      Thanks for posting the update … possibly good news.

  • Dylan Meeus

    Remarkable, hope she survives

  • brian32556

    So sad to hear about Arfa’s illness. Thank you for sharing this with us. Let us hope the power of prayer is as strong as the power of technology.

  • Rajazahid

    mr bill gates u must take a responsibility for the treatment of this young girl and finance her ll treatment expenditure

  • Arpita Vats

    wat was unique in her…

  • Dr Saleemi

    Hi, I am a homeopathic Doctor from Pakistan with 12 years of experience in this field. I have researched homeopathic way to treat epilepsy and found great responses from my patients. Can anyone let me know the whole case, so that I may see if I can be of any help to that talented girl. My email is

    • Anonymous

       You’re a disgusting person. Giving false hope to people in desperation. Homeopathy is a pseudoscience and has zero validity.  

  • Pam Miller

    Remarkable girl; sad story!

  • Mba_fiza

    god bless her

  • Husna Iftikhar

    G0D blexx hr 

  • Husna Iftikhar

    G0D blexx hr 

  • Cosmetic Chicken

    My love and thoughts go out to Arfa and her family. I hope she survives..

    • bilal

      May God (Allah) bless her. Ameen

  • Anonymous

    I have a suggestion. Perhaps you can save even more of your people-helping energy by redirecting your time spent here so ungraciously. I cannot help but think that the people — the ones you save energy to help, directly — will appreciate it at least as much as we would.


  • Eddy

    It’s sad when a remarkable young person becomes seriously ill before their full potential has been realised.  Sadly, there are too many selfish people in this World – just read some of the bitter/twisted comments on this page.

  • Matifrana

     i only want to know how is  she now please if any one have any latest about her condition share it plz

  • Sweet 4 M

    i hope that her country help her to get her dream fullfill..n by help means not any kind of economical , but just let her do her job..not give her any those muslim crap…

    • Asiffns


      Inshallah she will be recover ASAP Ameen

  • Marry_14


  • Madina

    My Allah give u fast recovery Arfa, so that u make another record for pakistan. Love u. n proud of You.

  • Shahbaz Butt

    May Allah Karim bless shining health to Arfa and return her to normal life asap… Ameen

  • Anonymous

    there seems to be alot of hate and lack of compassion here. maybe its me but i hope the best for most of my fellow humans except the one who have invaded my world determined to inflict damage or harm.
    i hipe the best for this young woman no matter who she is or what shes done.

  • Mubashirmadani

    May Allah bless her, I hope she survives


    Pray for survival of cute & intelligent arfa kaim.

  • FAGuy99

    Tears are flowing from my eyes for a child i never knew

  • Imran Hunzai

    I know you curse yourself for not passing out college like the rest portion of illiterates do but seriously this girl deserves some respect.

    Blessings & prayers Arfa!

  • Adeel Janjua

    Arfa Karim just passed away. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Jab

    Arfa Karim passes away on 14 Jan 2012. May her soul rest in peace!

    • Datla_re

      Very Sad to hear that, Hope her soul rests in peace.


  • Jojomonroe

    Are you just jealous because you didn’t have the knowledge to give your own children the same upbringing? …. Look at yourself before you judge someone else’s knowledge.For exampe.. Do you know how many of you adults choose to judge others when 7 out of 10 of you do not even know what fork to use when you are dining out??  Bet she did!!!!!

  • Dbc Sheikh Adil


  • arshad

    Rest in peace arfa Insha allah ur dream will come true

  • Samina khan

    RIP girl.  You made your mark at such a young age.   Pakistan will miss you so much.  I am sure you would have become as big as Bill Gates.  

  • Munchkin

    she did something not many in pakistan get a chance to do…prove themselves. Arfa, may God grant you paradise. its sad that a country like ours, torn apart by the corrupt officials that rule it, cannot put aside their complete lack of humanity and make this country reach its true potential. im proud that one pf us got past the barriar. i hope others will too.

  • Micha King

    Arfa you were 16 when you passed away but in such a short time on earth you made a name for yourself.
    Allah Giveth and Allah Taketh away. I am happy that I came to know of you because

    A lily of a day,
    is fairer far in May,
    Although it droop
    and die that night,
    It was the plant
    and flower of light.
    In small proportions we just beauties see;
    And in short measures, life may perfect be.

    Ben Jonson’s words are apt here.

    Rest in peace and may God grant your loved ones the strength to bear your passing away to a better world. Love………..always.

  • Prasant

    May her soul rest in peace …

Job Listings on GeekWork