Bhutto Khan

It takes a three-hour hike in the outer Himalayas to reach the top of the 9,000-foot-peak that Bhutto Khan calls home: A mist-enveloped, mud-plastered house where a beautiful young girl – Bhutto Khan’s little sister – sits in the front yard, where her mother boils milk with her left hand while feeding her youngest child, less than a year old. This is where Bhutto Khan, a 14-year-old from the Gujjar clan of Northern India, lives as the third oldest in a family of eight children.

The hike to Bhutto Khan’s home passes spectacular views of Sahoo valley, meadows and corn fields, and breathtaking water buffaloes. For a visitor, it takes several bottles of water, handfuls of trail mix, frequent rests and plenty of sweat to make it to the top. But every day, Bhutto effortlessly makes the two-hour walk to his school down in the valley, through rain, sun or snow, without water breaks, trail mix or sweat.

As the only boy in his family, he is the only one given the privilege of going to school. Bhutto was thrilled and grateful to be recruited into the CLIC Abroad workshop, which helped him shape a newfound sense of confidence.

“Anybody can cultivate the fields or look after the buffaloes,” he said. “I am interested to study further and give the power of knowledge in earning more and sharing with my community for a better life. I love my culture and my surroundings. I don’t want to give up but would love to have a better life, and this workshop has showcased the beauty surrounding my home and how can I aim better for my future.”