The emphasis on equality between women and men, and the elevated role of women in the Faith has helped me—as a woman and a mother—to aspire to reach the greatest heights I can, and to inspire my daughter to do the same. In the Writings, it states that if you have a boy and a girl, and not enough money to send both to school, the girl should be educated first, because the ‘woman is the primary educator of the children.’ The importance of education and more importantly for the priority for women to have access to education is powerful.

Baha’is are asked to pursue a path of service. When one attempts to pursue this path one is inevitably thrust into situations that demand an open heart. So many of an individual’s moments are only fully perceived by the open heart and those are moments that shape our lives and change our course and plant seeds in the freshly turned soil of the heart. The mind, bewildered by beauty and pain, struggles to follow. During that struggle, reflection occasionally sheds enough light to warm and germinate the seeds buried in the heart. Seeds planted there by those pivotal moments. Expressed, these seeds may flower and understanding blooms. And then, perhaps, much later and God willing, fruit. Baha’is are asked to pursue a path of service and, God willing, understanding blooms.

In the Baha’i Faith, the education of children is of utmost importance. It is a tremendous responsibility and privilege to be a teacher, and facilitate the learning of students as they develop their capabilities and talents in serving humankind. Having been inspired by the quotation, ‘Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom,’ I became a teacher, and a life long student in the field of education.

Baha’u’llah’s Teachings have touched every aspect of my life in a revitalising and refreshing way. For me, the beauty and potency of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation is that it binds people together from very different backgrounds in a spiritual way, which is achieved by working together for the material and spiritual progress of the neighbourhood we live in. In short, Baha’u’llah’s Revelation unites people by having a common noble goal in life.

I am steeped in white, middle class, first world privilege—and I still have a hard time making heads or tails of the world. I think that the Baha’i Faith is my buoy on a turbulent sea. Baha’u’llah said that he who does not fear God will be made to fear all else... I am still trying to learn what that means. To fear God. But in loving Him and trying to be of service to humanity... I feel less afraid. So I guess that is what the Baha’i Faith means to me: home, peace, security, hope. Love.

I was sent to Anglican Sunday school and did Anglican lessons at school and I came to realize that Christ was a real person in history, He wasn’t a myth or a fable... And one of the lessons we received was that if Christ returned, He would be crucified again. The logic and presentation of His qualities were spelled out and we knew humanity would reject Him. So I had all this information for what to expect if Christ were to return and I had a gut feeling that perhaps He might return in my lifetime... My mother and my aunt were talking about this new religion and they were saying if you were going to be anything, this sounded like a religion you’d want to join. There were some pamphlets and a work by Ruhiyyih Khanum left on the table in the dining room. I picked them up and it was all very logical and sensible what Ruhiyyih Khanum had explained in ‘Prescription for Living’ and I went to the back of the book and there was the story of the Martyrdom of the Bab and the beginning of the Baha’i Faith. And a frisson went down my back. I immediately knew this is what I wanted to know about...

When I think about my service as a Baha’i youth, I always reflect on the lives my grandparents led as early Baha’is in their communities. I never got to know them much, but the stories I hear about them and the early believers, their sacrifices, their abundant joy and profound love of the Faith, inspire me to serve and draw closer to Baha’u’llah. I can only pray to serve like they did.

My whole life really changed and flipped. The Baha’i Faith really created a coherence that was missing, a sense of purpose, a sense of direction, a sense of belonging, a sense of really feeling part of something that would guide my life in the spirit of service to humanity.

The Baha’i Faith has impacted my world view, my ability to feel at home in the world, and go to school in different places, and work in different places, and call different countries home. It’s a really huge thing for me especially with the work I do now on sustainable leadership in being able to feel connected and resonance with people from so many different cultures, which is something my parents taught me since I was born. They instilled in me very practical ways to make sure I’m always around people where I also get to be a minority and not be afraid of that because of the Baha’i principle of unity and we don’t have to be afraid if we’re all united, and one, and connected in the spirit of love.

I managed to learn a lot about what it means to serve humanity, and what it means to translate the skills and capacities that I have for the betterment of the world with respect to justice, judicious use of resources, of time, with respect to accompanying each other to carry out acts of service or projects. It’s really made an impact so that now I can actually talk to my colleagues at work and others who are planning to become electrical engineers and can express the challenges or the forces of disintegration that affect the profession and that area of work.

I was fundamentally attracted to the power of prayer. The feeling that it created in me and the energy that was generated around me was an inexplicable feeling. Even when I was not Baha’i, I was always moved by prayers. I feel that for every moment of your life, situation or difficulty, there is always a text, a prayer, a word or even a law that helps you light up along the path of life.

My worldview has been shaped by the Faith. It really contains the answers both to spiritual questions and to practical questions of life, whether I’m looking inward for spiritual development or the greater context of the world for social justice, I find all the solutions there. I’m constantly inspired and challenged by the Faith.

The Teachings of Baha’u’llah opened my eyes and my heart. I can now look at everyone with love and I have a strong desire to serve humanity. I have learnt to become humble and love humanity. I have learnt that love and a kindly tongue are the foundation of everything in life. The Baha’i Faith has given me a happy life, lots of good people and good friends, a higher purpose in life, and above all values, a sense of purpose, and most importantly the opportunity to get closer to God.