Inspiring. Resilient. Hardworking. These are some of the words that describe Soroptimist’s 2018 Live Your Dream Awards recipients. These amazing women have overcome huge life challenges and are on a quest to create better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. Read more about Lucia, Ana Caren and Shamayel, and watch their videos!
Shamayel’s parents were human rights activists in Afghanistan. Her father was murdered for defying the Taliban, which included sending Shamayel to school, and her mother died of a heart attack upon hearing the horrible news. Shamayel, who was determined to be in danger as well, immigrated to the U.S. with her siblings. She says:
“I am honored to be one of the recipients. I am the first in my family to attend college. My educational pursuits would not be possible without generous support from the Live Your Dream Awards.”
Lucia, from Canada, battled ongoing physical and emotional terror, including a horrific rape orchestrated by her children’s father. He controlled every aspect of her life including her friends, education, finances and religion.
“I didn’t have a voice and wasn’t allowed to have an opinion without fear of consequence or repercussion. It was a never-ending, hurtful and desperate situation where I felt lost. That all changed with this award. The Live Your Dream Award was my way out. It offered opportunity and opened doors for me and my children.”
Ana Caren was forced to deal with the trauma of an abusive father and mentally ill mother while growing up in Mexico. After her mother died, Ana Caren began caring for her three younger siblings—all while going to college. A bright young woman and good student, Ana Caren is studying for a degree in engineering and business development/innovation. Ana Caren’s first priorities are getting through school and being there for her siblings, but she also dreams of starting her own business one day.
“This is no longer a goal or a dream, it has become stronger than a commitment. There is no choice … I will simply fight until I accomplish it!”
About the Live Your Dream Awards
Since the Live Your Dream Awards program began in 1972, we have disbursed about $35 million in cash awards, helping more than 35,000 women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves, their families, and their communities!
All of the women we support through the Live Your Dream Awards provide the primary financial support for their families while working towards a college degree or gaining skills through specialized training programs. Most of these women are also survivors who have overcome enormous adversity in their lives.
We’ve found that in every measure, Live Your Dream Awards recipients report life-changing impact:
- Securing higher-paying employment
- Improving the standard of living for themselves and their families
- Enjoying a renewed sense of confidence and hope
- Serving as a positive role model for their children and other struggling women
- Paying it forward by entering the helping professions
Each grant season, we receive countless applications of incredibly inspiring survivor stories. Our goal is to increase our capacity to give more awards to reach all of the women who could potentially benefit from the Live Your Dream Awards.