Small Voices, Big Dreams.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. My unadulterated desire is to do both during my time on this earth. From the very first moment that I took pen to paper, it became my passion. I wanted to use my voice to inspire others.
With it, I could create worlds like my own or ones that I had only dreamt of. I could bring to life heroes and heroines and give them a purpose. I could even fashion the path that led an ordinary person to become villainous and bring it all together to tell a story. It was for this reason alone that I wanted to become an author. At the time, my favorite author was J.R.R. Tolkien and I was convinced that I would be an author, just like him.
Let’s wind back a bit and to a time where I couldn’t even write much less speak English. My parents and siblings and I made our journey from a war-stricken country, El Salvador, to Canada. After having witnessed many atrocities and having a few personal and very close calls where I had been shot at and a bullet grazed my arm, my parents decided it was time to seek refuge in a country where this insecurity and perilous environment didn’t exist. A place where martial law was not a reality.
Safety is Important.
They applied for asylum and between 1982 and 1987, Canada admitted 15,877 refugees from Central America, 11,251 of them Salvadoran. Under a special program, 4,444 family members were allowed entry, bringing the five-year total to 20,955. We were very lucky to make this move and with it, we left everything we knew behind.
The welcome we received is something that I write about often because it is something that I am immensely grateful for. With generosity and my parent’s hard work, they learned English, gained employment and in succession we became Canadian citizens. My siblings and I were attending school and getting our education.
Education here in Canada is something that I am indebted to and one thing that I do not take for granted. Sadly, not all kids around the world have this privilege.
Small Voices, Big Dreams is one of the largest polls taken by childfundalliance.org of children’s views in the world. They surveyed 6, 226 children from 41 countries to tell them how they feel about the importance of education and safety at school.
Did you know that 98% of children surveyed say that education and school are important to them? About 48% of them believe that a school and education will get them a good job. They’re right because we all know that it begins with school and education.
Dreams are Achievable.
Our education system allowed my parents to learn English and even get post-secondary education to get better jobs. That privilege was extended to us as well when the time came. My siblings and I have all gotten certifications and degrees because of the opportunities offered and through hard work. Most of all, there was no outside force impeding our success, our schools were safe and we were able to learn without fear.
Using my wildest imagination, I could not envision what going to school in my country would have been like during those volatile times. 31% of kids surveyed said that there school is sometimes safe and 48% say that there are security measures in place to keep them safe. Could you imagine? We all know that being safe is incredibly important for a child to succeed.
Coming to Canada and getting an education here is what sparked my love for the written word and I do not think I would be who I am today had it not happened. My Grade 5 teacher, Mr. Bishop gave me a copy of The Hobbit and it all started there. While I took a break from this passion and entered the world of nursing for some years, it still helped me to touch the lives of other people and given me experiences that I take with me always.
There is Still Time.
When I write, it may not meet everyone’s standards but, I write for myself. It is cathartic. While I may not be an author just yet, there is still time. Even if I never publish a book, I’ve had the immense joy of writing for different publications. There’s nothing like seeing my name in my byline and reading my words in print and online.
Through education and studying journalism, I have found my own voice and path. I look forward to continue to share whenever and wherever I am inspired. Like me, every child deserves a chance to turn their passion into a reality and to have the opportunity to attend school, be free from violence, safe at all times and arrive on time.
You can take action and support kids around the world to have these freedoms by following Childfund Alliance’s Facebook page and sharing their posts with your friends and community. You can follow them on Twitter and retweet them and engage in the global conversation using the hashtag #SmallVoices.
How has education helped you achieve your dreams?
Let me know, til then–cheers m’deres!
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist, lifestyle content creator, and editor of Whispered Inspirations. She is a proud Mom to Gabby and Michaela, and wife to Darasak. Having worked as part of a health care team for almost a decade, Nancy is happy to be back to her passion. She is a contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY’s Parents, and an Oprah Magazine Brand Ambassador.