American Teenager in Daring Attempt to Become the Youngest Ever Pilot to Fly Around the World in 30 Days To Raise Funds for The Citizens Foundation Schools in Pakistan

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High school student - aged 17 - making final preparations for courageous bid to raise funds and awareness for some of the world's poorest children. Spotlight on non-profit organization building quality schools for the forgotten boys and girls living in Pakistan's slums.

Father and son launch their daring journey on Monday, June 9

Haris Suleman, 17, will attempt to become the youngest pilot in command to fly around the world in 30 days

I only just got my license but I can’t imagine a better way to spend my summer.

HARIS Suleman is about to take off on the ultimate father-and-son bonding trip - flying a single-engine plane around the world in 30 days.

With his exam finals finally complete, the high school junior and his father, BABAR, will depart from Indiana on Monday, June 9.

If they succeed, 17-year-old HARIS - who has been flying since he was eight - will be the youngest ever to accomplish this daredevil feat.

But it’s not just personal goals that the Sulemans, from Plainfield, Indiana, are striving for.

They will also be raising money to help educate Pakistan’s poorest of the poor – the children living in some of the world’s worst slums.

The charity Babar and Haris are supporting – THE CITIZENS FOUNDATION – is this week celebrating the opening of its 1,000th school.

Since TCF’s inception in 1995, the non-profit organization headquartered in Karachi, Pakistan, has built purpose-made primary and secondary schools in the nation’s most in-need communities with the proviso that every attempt is made to have an equal number of boys to girls in the classrooms and the teaching staff is all female.

Depending on the weather, Babar and Haris plan to stop off in Canada, Iceland, England, Greece, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia, Australia, Fiji, American Samoa, Kiribati, Hawaii and California.

Using the latest technology, anyone interested will be able to follow the exact flight path of the plane and watch their progress from videos mounted on the outside of the aircraft and they will be charting their journey on their blog.

“I am really looking forward to getting going,” said Haris, a junior at Plainfield High School. “I only just got my license but I can’t imagine a better way to spend my summer.”

“He will be the pilot in command,” added Babar. “I will only take over the controls in an emergency situation. If all goes well, my son will be going back to school for his senior year with some tall tales to tell."

“He has been flying with me since he was 8-years-old. He couldn’t see above the windshield in those days but he would keep the three instruments in line.”

"Haris is not going solo," said his father. "But no 17 year old pilot in command has ever done this so far, so he gets to hold that record."

"The second record is the attempt to do it in 30 days, depending on the weather."

The intrepid pair has taken every precaution to be ready for any emergency, even going on a sea survival course to learn what to do in the event they have to ditch in the ocean.

About 60% of the trip will be over huge expanses of water, including the Atlantic, the Pacific and parts of the Indian Ocean. They will also be passing over the Swiss Alps, the Arabian Desert and the tropical forests of Southeast Asia.

The longest stretch - from Hawaii to California – will take about 13 hours.

TCF’s founders hope that with the help of supporters like the Sulemans, they can forge partnerships with the government in the future to fix Pakistan’s broken public education system.

There are more than 240,000 public schools in Pakistan, many of them so badly run they don’t even have toilets or electricity let alone desks and computers.

Meet Babar and Haris at:
Round The World for TCF Take-Off Festival: June 7, 2014, 11.30am-3pm, Greenwood Municipal Airport, 799 E. County Line, Greenwood, IN 46143.

The Citizens Foundation was awarded the 2013 Skoll Foundation Award for Social Entrepreneurship

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David Gardner

Jo Foster
since: 05/2014
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