Today we welcome a guest post from Lisa Bos, World Vision Policy Advisor for Health, Education and WASH
“I want our girls to dream dreams.” Theo Sowa, CEO, African Women’s Development Fund
I had the privilege in May of being a part of World Vision’s delegation to the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This is a wonderful event that highlights how women and girls are often left behind in the developing world and brings together those that believe we can do better.
One of the people we heard from was Theo Sowa, who is the CEO of the African Women’s Development Fund. AWDF helps women in the developing world through its grant-making and philanthropy, with a focus on economic empowerment, health, and human rights. Theo’s challenge to those of us listening to her remarks was to have a vision, to have bold and imaginative goals for women and girls, and to help fulfill the dreams and ambitions of children around the world.
At the conference I was also able to view a “tree” with cards written by girls in the developing world listing what their dreams were. Some focused on what careers they wanted. Others listed their hopes for their communities and countries. Some dreams might seem simple to us – access to education, a life without fear of violence, a marriage based in love and respect – but to many of these girls these dreams are huge. In communities where girls are often the last to be fed, the last to go to school and the first to be married, these are dreams that can be hard to achieve.
It can sometimes be hard to dream big. Often we’ve had dreams and goals that haven’t been achieved and we have been disappointed, frustrated and maybe given up. It can be easy to convince ourselves to set goals that are achievable rather than have a big dream that may require more time and hard work. Too often, we let “reality” dampen our aspirations.
But without dreams, life can become a little less meaningful. If we don’t believe things can get better, that we can change the world or even just one life, are listening to God’s encouragement in Jeremiah that he has a plan of prosperity and hope for every one of us?
World Vision has launched Beyond 5 because we have a dream – ending preventable child deaths, all 6.9 million of them. We know it’s not an easy goal, but we also know that unless we try, children around the world will continue to die needlessly. We are daring to dream that these children can have “hope and a future.” We hope that you will share this dream with us.
Photos of the dream ‘tree’ at the Women Deliver conference, 2013: