Impossible dreams are possible.

I learned a very important lesson at 16.

I loved the international scene. At the age of 12 I had 29 penfriends from around the world. I was fascinated by the exotic scenery on postcards, pictures and different currencies on stamps, and the concept of other cultures coming into my world through letters. ( It was in the 1960s. Internet may not have given me the same thrill as holding a letter from the other side of the world).

My school hosted exchange students from USA and scholarship students from Malaysia. I was in awe of the opportunity they had to live and study in another country.

That, I decided,was beyond my wildest dreams. At the time I decided it was beyond my resources, so the dream was fleeting and then dismissed. Later, upon reflection, I discovered that the person who put an overseas exchange beyond my reach was… me.

I was brought up short when a girl in my class, from a home not too dissimilar to mine where finances were limited, decided she wanted to go to Japan .. and did.

She made her own clothes, had a part time job, and applied for and got support and sponsorship from her church community.

She lived in Japan for a year.

I had a Japanese penfriend.

The difference was that she made her dream a reality. I limited myself with my belief system.

The positive outcome is that I learned the lesson, and that lesson has been a driver in my life: You can shift an impossible dream to being a possible reality. I grew stronger with that belief – and even now I look at opportunity and consider how can I make that chance real.

In my Soroptimist service I also apply that lesson to making a difference to women and girls. Is education for a girl in rural Nepal an impossible dream? What can I do to make it a reality?

As 2015 – 2017 Soroptimist International President I chose Educate to Lead: Nepal as the SI President’s Appeal. With funds raised by Soroptimists all over the world, we empowered thousands of girls with the reality of the dream of an education. May their dreams beyond secondary school also be a reality.

We also enabled many Nepali women to learn income generation skills to help them rebuild their lives after the 2015 earthquakes.

It was a privilege to see the impact of our dream become a reality.

Dreams do come true.

Author: Yvonne Simpson

This blog shares my leadership journey and my passion for educating to lead.

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