Photo by Designecologist 

‘I hope it doesn’t rain today.’. . . ‘I hope that guy I like smiles at me today.’. . . . ‘I hope that when I smiled back, I didn’t have food in my teeth.’ . . . . ‘Oh no! I hope that I remembered to turn my straighteners off.’

Hope. It’s an overused word, isn’t it? We have hope about a lot of things.

But what does hope actually mean?

So I did what I always do when I need to find something out – I googled it.

Hope (noun): a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen.

But I loved my friend’s definition even better:

Hope is dancing to the beat of your heart when passion overcomes fear!

Hope is living in the light of Jesus and knowing that this world’s darkness can never extinguish it.

For me, hope is not wishy washy optimism. In the Bible, hope is an indication of certainty. It means a confident expectation. Rather than being static or passive, it is dynamic and active.

The world needs more hope

So what do you really hope for? I hope for a world where everyone is treated fairly; where the worth of each person is upheld.

When I turn on my TV, I don’t see a world full of hope. When I go on Youtube, I don’t see many hope-filled voices. When I walk through my town, I don’t see many people believing they have a hopeful future.

Instead when I take a stroll around my town I see:

  • The homeless: many who are shamed because they don’t have a warm home to live in, yet people just walk to the other side of the road and ignore them.
  • The hungry: many across the world are suffering from hunger (perhaps even in our community) yet supermarkets throw away huge amount of food and we even waste food.
  • The environment: the world around us is dying yet we are using more plastic than ever.
  • Young people with low self-esteem: particularly young women struggling and seeing themselves as ugly, stupid and without having any worth and value.

I wonder – where are the hope-less places in your community? Where are the people who lack hope? If we open our eyes, we’ll see that there are many people around us who need us to turn up the volume of hope for them.

Advocates of Hope

When some people encounter hopelessness, they can throw their hands up in the air and just give up. Can I really make a difference? YES (that’s me shouting at you!) I don’t have any skills or talents (you do!) How can I help anyone?

There is a famous African saying which goes: ‘If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven’t spent the night with a mosquito.’

Last month, I lived this truth out! I spent the night with a real-life mosquito in Azerbaijan… and had 24 itchy bites to prove it. Let me tell you, that tiny minuscule insect had an impact (albeit a painful one) on my life.

No matter how old you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you live – you can help turn up the volume of hope for people in your community. You can make a difference!

Today is International Day of the Girl; an opportunity to celebrate and champion the potential of girls around the world. Here’s three amazing women who show us that if you have passion, determination and refuse to be silent, you can turn up the volume of hope for others who are experiencing injustice:

  • Amika George (18) – an activist fighting for rights to free sanitary products for disadvantaged teenage girls with her #FreePeriods campaign.
  • Malala Yousafzai – a school pupil who stood up for girls’ education and as a result was shot by the Taliban in Afghanistan when she was 15 years old.
  • Margaret Lyttle – founder of Girls’ Brigade in 1893, a global movement which invested in girls at a time when they weren’t even allowed to vote or go to university.

Be a hope-bringer

So how can you turn up the volume of hope for others? Hopelessness can seem over-empowering but our individual choices can make a difference. Every action – no matter how small – counts.

Here’s three things that you can do this week to be a hope-bringer:

  • Be kind – kindness is underrated. The world would be transformed if we all treated each other with kindness. Do a random act of kindness this week – give up your seat on the bus. Speak words of kindness to others – and yourself (dismiss that negative voice in your head!)
  • Live generously – prioritise people over yourself this week. Give them your time, energy and attention. Treat your friend to a cuppa. Facetime someone rather than lose yourself scrolling through IG. Instead of treating yourself to another fast fashion item (that you really don’t need), give your money to a charity.
  • Pursue justice – Is there an injustice in your community which you’re passionate about transforming? Homelessness? Bullying? Mental health? Sexism? Get involved in being part of the solution – meet others who share your passion, help with local charities and use your voice to bring words and actions of hope. Girls’ Brigade International has launched this Raising Hope Advocacy Toolkit to help you bring real and lasting change to your community.

On International Day of the Girl (and beyond), let’s turn up the volume of hope in our own life and in the lives of others! Let’s demonstrate that girls are generation-shapers, transformers and hope-bringers.

 

By Claire Rush

I’m from ‘Norn Iron’ and I have a dog called
Benny Buster Benasti Bentley Rush – yes really!
I love travelling, books, movies, DVD box-sets,
swimming and shaping the culture which surrounds me.

Meg

About Meg

I love to share stories, travel, learn, meet new people, challenge myself, make films and explore the issues that really matter to us girls.

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