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What are your shattered dreams?  I’m assuming we all have one or two or three…we dream about so much when we are children, don’t we? What we will be, what we will look like, what life will look like…and not everything turns out like we pictured – some realities turn out better, there are surprises along the way, and some realities turn out, well, not that great while some pictures never even begin to materialize…  And then our dreams also change and grow as we grow.  Oh but the freedom to dream big dreams! To have a blank canvas ahead and paint wildly and freely…

I know for the little girl in me, dreaming is synonymous with breathing.  That’s why I was so moved by a story I recently read in a newsletter from Le Pelican, a French bakery and school in Kabul, Afghanistan for Hazara children and their mothers.  Jacques and Ariane Hiriart, the founders, wrote about a twelve-year-old little girl being taken from the school and entered into marriage with a man she is not allowed to refuse, in order to strengthen family ties in the Hazara tradition.  One day she is playing and learning and dreaming of a future as a journalist or teacher, and the next she is forced into an adult relationship to spend her life making babies and submitting to her husband’s direction.  How agonizing those tear-filled hugs they described must have been! How hard it must be to know this may still be the fate of the many other little girls now enjoying freedom in their education centers.

But I’m so encouraged by what Jacques and Ariane are doing, how they are quietly instilling hope into the Hazara community of Kabul.  What began as a French bakery and cafe, where they trained young apprentices in the skills of the bakery trade, is now two educational centers where over 200 children and women come to be served lunch, to enjoy recreation and to learn skills and trades.  Their newest project is a tailoring workshop, where the women whose husbands allow them to can learn to sew and be set up with accounts for earning income with their new ability.  The children learn reading, writing and math…and they play.  It’s a safe place for all of them to share secrets and to learn and yes, to dream…to look through a window and see opportunities.

I love how Jacques and Ariane wrote in their newsletter that it’s not forcing ideas into a culture that creates change, it’s providing space and resources to learn empowering skills that can turn windows into doors that future little girls can open…and step into possibilities they have had the freedom to dream about.

If you are moved by the work of Le Pelican and want to read more or contribute to their school, they can be contacted through Global Family.  Following is a one minute dance phrase inspired by the idea of shattered dreams, which I’ve entitled Shattered Glass.  It’s danced by Heidi Brewer to the sound of glass wind chimes in the stairwell of my apartment building.  Enjoy!

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