Last Friday I had an inspiring day which can be summed up by these three words: Daring to Dream.
First stop on my schedule was a visit to Kambala where I was doing a presentation for Room to Read, a fantastic not-for-profit organisation which I volunteer for and which I’ve mentioned in this blog before. I had been invited to the assembly to tell the primary students more about Room to Read (www.roomtoread.org) and why education is the key to ending the cycle of poverty. 5R were also on the agenda for the assembly and began their “show” with a presentation called Dare to Dream in which each girl stood and told the audience what she “dared” to be when she was older. Hearing the girls talk about being actors, architects, doctors, writers and a whole array of other wonderful occupations gave me goose-bumps. These 11 year olds are being taught – and rightly so – that they can do and be anything, an opportunity that was denied to women only a couple of generations ago, and is still impossible for many women around the world. How fortunate we are to live in a society where gender equality is openly promoted. Of course the glass ceiling still exists in many areas of the business world but for these young women the sky is the limit so kudos to the teachers who are encouraging such determination and optimism about the future. The girls have so far raised almost $1500 to help girls in Zambia have an education that will allow them to fulfil their own dreams.
Stella, a third grader in the Room to Read Program in Balmoral,Zambia
Second on my list was a performance I Am Jack by Monkey Baa Theatre at the Seymour Centre. This one man show explores the issue of bullying and how it can be overcome by enlisting the help of family and friends and with the support of the school. The play is an adaptation of the wonderful novel of the same name by Susanne Gervay (www.sgervay.com) who based the story on the experiences of her son. By daring to be honest and tell a story very close to her heart Susanne has provided a vehicle for kids to open up about their own experiences and find the courage to initiate change.
Bullying is an insidious behaviour that almost all of us have experienced at some stage of our lives – and not necessarily just in child hood. Monkey Baa’s production, having one actor play 11 different parts was an act of daring in itself and one that worked surprisingly well. It was a charity performance to benefit the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation a national charity aimed at keeping children safe from the impact of violence. (http://www.amf.org.au/)
At the end of the play a young girl by the name of Julia Weber addressed the audience. This teenager, herself a victim of bullying, has written a self-help book to help adolescents going through similar experiences. She spoke so eloquently and passionately that it was hard to believe she is only 14 years old. Julia has also organised a petition to have an anti-bullying clause included in UNICEF Rights of the Child document.
You can sign the petition by following this link:
And find out more about Julia and her book at www.facebook.com/juliaweberily
So all in all, a very inspiring day.
Watching and listening to others who are doing courageous and daring things or speaking out against violence and injustice gives us the courage to be brave enough to follow our own dreams and to stand up for what we believe in. Seeing and reading the work of artists and writers who share their passions and give us a glimpse of an imagined world allows us to imagine a better world for ourselves, and as writers, it inspires us to create our own visions and share them with our readers.
What have you been inspired by this week?
What dreams are you daring to pursue?