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I Have a Dream.

With the young women at the forefront of the environmental awareness campaign at Green Club, Maple Leaf International School, Dhaka

On 11th September 2011, I found myself living my dream.

I was one of the 450 women who were students at Asian University for Women – a magical place that aimed to create leaders. Every person I met shared one passion: to change the world, to contribute for the better, to hold each other’s hands and break the shackles that bind women all over the world. I am part of this community.
My journey started in the city I call home: Dhaka. The city that bleeds power, undying spirit, and a sense of survival even as it crumbles to the harsh realities that its inhabitants live every day. A child in Dhaka cannot grow without being exposed to the jammed streets that become home to thousands of poverty-stricken homeless at night. As a young student, I walked among these people, I learned to hold their hand, and I learned that our lives were shared. At a very young age, I learned to connect and observe – to feel the pulse running through their veins. I dreamed of being part the solution that would make their lives better.

I’ve started debating since then. I’ve been part of community building projects, human rights awareness campaigns and environmental movements. I was a participant of the Women in Public Service Project that trained me, along with hundreds of women across the world, to be catalysts of change, to start advocacy campaigns and make policies that will help women break glass ceilings. On stage as a Vagina Monologues actor, I told stories of women, from women. These projects have empowered me because now I believe that my future is where I will help my people.

I started blogging about these experiences. I learned that words had power – power to bring change. In my classes at AUW I connect with women from 16 different countries across Asia. We connect over words, over poems, over stories. We see ourselves building the future together. We believe that in our own way, we will all be leaders of our countries, our community, our people, and in our homes. This is what brought me to World Pulse. At AUW we tell our stories. We believe that other women must be part of this journey too. We want to share our experiences with women all over the world and bring them into our classrooms, into our lives, into our journeys to leadership. I joined Voices of Our Future to tell these stories. To be part of the solution that empowers women. I wish to go back to my community and help others tell their stories. This is what World Pulse will help me do.

Ten years from now I see myself fulfilling my dreams – dreams that have defined me; dreams that have been shaped by my experiences and my community. I dream of being a leader who will respect the value of human dignity. I dream of helping all my countrymen realize their own dreams. It is because of those dreams that I wish to learn from the best. This is why I am here.

AUW Vagina Monologues - One Billion Rising team <go to www.vday.org for more information about the global movement>

Comments

Deqa's picture

Beautiful Post

Dear Raiya
This is an inspiring and wonderful post. Keep writing and keep sharing my dear.

Love
Deqa

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Thank you

Dear Ms Deqa

Thank you very much for your wishes.

Best,

Raiya

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

ikirimat's picture

Raiya,Your journey to world

Raiya,
Your journey to world Pulse is amazing. You have written it so well. I like your writing style.
I love your statement:
"We see ourselves building the future together".
Regards

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."


Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Always

Hi Ms Grace,

It is always a pleasure being part of this dream. It is powerful beyond all means and we feel it every day! I hope I can give all of you more insights into our lives here at AUW.

Thank you for your kinds comments, always.

Best,

Raiya

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Frances Faulkner's picture

A natural leader

Raiya,

I am deeply moved by your words and your recognition of your own power and vision from an early age. You have everything it takes to be a great leader -- the understanding of the magic of connection, the will to work hard, the experience of developing your voice through theatre, debate, training and blogging, and finally, the realistic goals you set out for yourself.

I look forward to more stories from you -

Frances

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Will keep writing

Dear Frances,

Writing has helped me understand myself better and it is something that I deeply connect to. Thank you for your encouragement. I wish to keep these values and relationships that I have built here at AUW very close to my heart. I'm hoping to make similar connections here at World Pulse. It was great to hear from you.

Best,

Raiya

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

bhavna's picture

Hi

Dear Raiya,
Your dreams speaks a lot about you. Keep up the dreams and my best wishes you fulfill them.

love
bhanva

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Hello

Hi Bhavna,

Thank you very much. I hope I always have wonderful people like you encouraging me. I look forward to reading more about your dreams.

Best,

Raiya

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Thank You, Raiya!

Dear Raiya,

Your Week 2 assignment is beautifully and strongly presented; full of passion, courage and determination.

I was immediately drawn into your story and, among the many excellent and memorable points you make, perhaps the sentence that leaped out at me the most strongly was this one: "As a young student, I walked among these people, I learned to hold their hand, and I learned that our lives were shared."

That description so clearly illustrates both your compassion and leadership inclinations, as well as your perceptive view of the bigger picture; that we are all connected.

So thank you, Raiya, and I wish you much success,

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf's picture

Thank you, Sarah

Dear Sarah,

I hope I can work hard and realise these dreams someday. There is still so much I have to learn about my world. Here's to undying idealism and passion for a better world! It is lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words.

Best,

Raiya

Raiya Kishwar Ashraf
Dhaka, Bangladesh

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