During a recent trip to the town of Gobele, in southern Ethiopia’s Meda Wolabu district, imagine1day’s executive director Sapna Dayal chatted with a dozen women and girls between the ages of 8 and 22.

The oldest women are community leaders taking adult literacy classes. They already have children of their own. The younger ones are girls aged 10 – 12, and some of them walk more than one hour to get to school each day. We talk about what it means to become a woman in our communities and the difference between education and daily life in Canada and Ethiopia.

Afterwards, Sapna distributes hearts to each woman and girl and asks them to write two wishes on them: one wish for themselves, and one wish for Canadian girls across a continent and an ocean who will eventually respond with wishes of their own.

A young Ethiopian girl smiling while holding a heart shaped cutout

“I wish for a good education for all girls.”

Wearing a purple dress and a bright pink scarf, Mukuda Adam is the first to speak. She is a member of the Parent Teacher Association and the community’s Women’s Affairs leader. “I wish for girls in Canada to get a good education. For me, I wish for my child to become a doctor and for all of Ethiopia to eradicate famine,” she says.

One by one, each girl cites her wish. One wish is nearly unanimous: “I wish for Canadian girls to complete their education,” they say.

On G Day, coming up on April 28th, more than 250 girls in Vancouver will get together to write their wishes on canvas hearts. These will all be strung together to make one long banner of love and hope to be unveiled in the town of Gobele this fall, when their new imagine1day primary school is complete.