You know those epiphanies where you realize that everything you’ve done has led you directly to this very moment? I’m there right now- feeling like all my experience working for women’s empowerment has come together to prepare me for an amazing opportunity to teach for The World Academy for the Future of Women at SIAS University in Xinzheng, China for five weeks this August and September.
The World Academy for the Future of Women is a nine month leadership acceleration program. It is a very competitive program, free to the students, and the students attend workshops and work on projects outside of their regular classes at SIAS.
When I enrolled in the WAFW facilitator training (reluctantly, I might add), I had no intention of going abroad. I thought I would be a mentor here for an Academy member. I thought I could help them design curriculum or student support programs.
During the training, I learned more about how WAFW members design a community program that addresses one of the United Nations Millenium Goals and heard the transformation the students go through as they work to eliminate illegal marriages, bring oral health education to surrounding villages, and more. I heard the stories of how facilitators’ hearts were stretched even wider by the courage and vivaciousness of the students. I read letters from students that were the first in their family to ever attend school- not just college, s c h o o l- and how the Academy had supported them and opened their view of the world and their sense of their place in it. I watched videos about how the Academy members took that new world view back to their families and communities and the impact that made.
By the end of the second day of training, my belly button told me I was going to China. I had no idea how that was going to happen, but how do you argue with a belly button?
The timing of the first module worked best for my schedule-- the topic of the first module? (Hold on- the Synchronicity is going to blow your mind) “Creating Possibilities”. In it, we’ll be covering life balance, defining personal values, creatively exploring cultural and personal influences on gender identity, and defining their Ideal Image of a female leader in a global society. I am so excited about getting to share my years of experience with the Academy members on these topics, and even more excited about how they will teach me and deepen my understanding and practice around these topics in our time together.
Will you help me? The WAFW asks us to gather our village around us to send us to help others. Please donate $25 or more today to help me raise the $3,000 I still need to make the journey. As the World Academy for the Future of Women is a 501(c)3, all donations are tax deductible.