Today is Martin Luther King Jr Day. Instead of just celebrating with a day off work, I would like to share a story of a woman that I saw on an Oprah and who is a keynote speaker at a MLK Day event in Springfield. Her name is Tererai Trent.
Trent was raised in rural Zimbabwe and despite wanting to go to school, was denied an education because she was a girl. She was forced to marry a man who beat her around age 13. Because so many people in her village are illiterate, including her parents, Trent said she doesn’t know exactly how old she is because she didn’t have a birth certificate. By roughly age 18, she had three children (and eventually had six). ”I was still a child myself. I remember growing up with my own children,” Trent said.
Trent wrote down her goals to one day earn a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and her doctorate. Then she buried the list of goals under a rock near where she used to herd cattle. On her website, Trent writes: “I believed in achieving these dreams against many challenges; the rock where I buried my dreams solidified and grounded me in many ways. I knew I was at peace since I had made a pact with the rock to keep my dreams alive.” Little by little, she checked off every dream from her list. Today she has a doctorate in interdisciplinary evaluation from Western Michigan University.
Why I love this story
This story illustrates how important it is to write down you dreams and goals. If you do, you are much more likely to achieve them. And this woman didn’t let any obstacle stand in her way. Children, illiteracy and an abusive relationship are all reasons to give up. But instead, Tererai got her doctorate! Before Oprah ended her show, she donated $1.5 million to Trent to build a school in her home village, Trent’s next dream. Now this woman is making a difference by changing other girl’s lives because she had the strength and motivation to change her life first. AWESOME!
So here are some links that will help YOU be awesome on this MLK Day: