International Day of Education 2024: Stories of Challenge and Triumph

International Day of Education 2024

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. Without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind.

Importantly for SI, the International Day of Education is one of the dates which SI President Siew Yong Gnanalingam and Federation Presidents have agreed to work on collaboratively around the globe. Our observance of International Days is to ensure a shared public facing focus can be achieved across the organisation, where we seek to spread awareness about the day, as well as promoting SI’s programmes and commitments to education.

In order to celebrate and mark this day in 2024, we are looking to collate and share some personal stories relating to and highlighting the importance of education in the lives of women and girls – specifically, we have sought out stories from Soroptimist Club members and presidents, as well as SI project participants, stakeholders, and beneficiaries.

To learn more about Soroptimist International Education projects, please download our ‘2023: Transforming Mentalities‘ brochure.

Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland

SI Leeds, within the SIGBI Federation, unveils the transformative impact of its three-year scholarship program in collaboration with Leeds Beckett University. This initiative, aimed at addressing the gender gap in STEM fields and supporting young women from disadvantaged backgrounds, has empowered individuals like Laura, a scholarship recipient pursuing Occupational Therapy. Laura’s inspiring journey reflects the profound impact of educational opportunities on personal growth and success. Additionally, SI Winchester shares the remarkable story of Jackie, a new member overcoming societal expectations and limited educational opportunities, highlighting the spirit of empowerment championed by Soroptimist International. These narratives underscore the pivotal role of education in breaking barriers and fostering inclusive opportunities for a brighter and more equitable future.

Read the full story here.

Soroptimist International of the Americas

In our exploration of the transformative impact of education and community support, SIA unfolds the inspiring journey of Lisa, a resilient single mother of three. Lisa’s story, fuelled by the support of SIA’s initiatives and programs, epitomizes the Soroptimist mission of empowering women through education and community advocacy. From receiving the prestigious Live Your Dream Award to assuming leadership roles within the organization, Lisa discovered her strength and passion for inspiring others. Her journey, shaped by education and community backing, showcases the profound impact that Soroptimist International has on individual lives. Through narratives like Lisa’s, we strive to shape a world where education stands as a transformative force, breaking barriers and fostering empowerment for women globally.

Read the full story here.

Soroptimist International South East Asia Pacific 

Now looking to SISEAP and their impactful projects and programmes, we hear from Syifa, a determined student supported by SI Penang. Syifa shares her journey of overcoming financial barriers and navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic to achieve her dream of studying at Management Science University. Soroptimist Penang’s crucial assistance not only facilitated Syifa’s education but also extended support to her family, emphasizing the profound impact of education and community backing on individual lives.

Read the full story here. 

Soroptimist International Africa Federation

Highlighting the impactful work of SIAF, we examine the impactful stories of three individuals, Fatoumata, Hawa, and Hanane. Their narratives underscore the transformative influence of Soroptimist initiatives in fostering education, gender equality, and empowerment across Africa as well as the exceptional potential fulfilled by each of these women. Fatoumata, pursuing Civil Engineering, credits Soroptimist International for her confidence and success in STEM fields. Hawa, aspiring to be a medical doctor, expresses gratitude for Soroptimist International Club-Yaoundé’s role in shaping her leadership skills and self-esteem. Hanane’s journey, supported by SI d’Agadir, exemplifies the profound impact of education grants in enabling her to achieve academic excellence and become a teacher.

Read the full story here. 

Additionally, Mary Muia, one of our SI UN Representatives in Nairobi, shares her inspiring journey from overcoming adversities in her early childhood, losing both parents at the age of seven, to her determination to pursue education and empower vulnerable adolescent girls and young women through her grandmother’s legacy and her experiences at Kawethei primary school in Kenya.

Read Mary’s full story here. 

Soroptimist International Europe

SIE highlights a collaborative initiative with Soroptimists of Follo (Norway), SI Rygge (Norway), and SI Nisporeni (Moldova) for the International Day of Education. Operating in Moldova, the project empowered fifty-five girls aged 15-18 through training sessions on various topics. The collaboration emphasized resilience, public speaking skills, career visions, and a commitment to education. Teachers and parents acknowledged the positive impact, showcasing Soroptimists’ dedication to empowering young girls and fostering positive change.

Read the full story here.

Concluding Thoughts

On this International Day of Education 2024, Soroptimist International reaffirms its commitment to education as a transformative force for peace, development, and gender equality. The shared focus of SI President Siew Yong Gnanalingam and Federation Presidents worldwide highlights the organization’s dedication to promoting education globally.

In celebrating this day, we have heard inspiring narratives from across our federations, showcasing the profound impact of Soroptimist initiatives in empowering women and girls through education. From addressing gender imbalances in STEM fields to supporting young mothers and overcoming societal expectations, each story exemplifies the resilience and determination of individuals breaking barriers through education.

As we reflect on these stories, we recognize the transformative power of education to shape lives, break down barriers, and foster inclusive opportunities. Soroptimist International remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing education, advocating for gender equality, and empowering women and girls worldwide. Together, we strive to create a world where education is a universal right, enabling individuals to reach their full potential and contribute to a more equitable and peaceful future.

To learn more about SI’s commitment and stance on issues pertaining to education, check out our Where We Stand Position Papers on this topic below:


Access to Education and Training

Access to Life Long Learning/Continuing Education



Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to receive the Soroptimist International Newsletter by email.