COMMENT by Audrey M. Thomas
We are happy to bring you this bumper edition of Literacy/Alphabétisation. The mail strike and my move to the "Queen City of the Plains" provided some anxious moments as my desk lay bare at the time of the deadline - October 31; However, as the mails moved again, an avalanche of material appeared.
The issue is testimony to the fact that many Canadians are actively concerned and busily engaged in providing increased and better learning opportunities for other Canadians less fortunate than themselves. We also have contributions from some adults who are now willing to let others know what it was like to be illiterate. We are beginning to provide a climate in which people are feeling freer to talk about this handicap because they know that they can be helped and that there are many others like themselves. This is an encouraging move.
At the time of the conference in May 1976, David Hargreaves of the B.B.C. told some of us then present that there was a three year period of preparation in the U.K. before the literacy campaign took off. Leon Bataille, another speaker from overseas, spoke about the struggles which we would probably have and the importance of humility.
Those of us who are alive to the fact that humanity is interconnected and that we are our brother's keeper, know that we can learn from those we are trying to help, as much as they can from us. Our lives are touched and we are transformed. There are those who would transform society, but ~e cannot transform society, unless we transform men, and the way of transformation is through the heart, "for what is essential is invisible to the eye".
We must be ever mindful of the human qualities in our relationships in ABE. The striving for better materials, for more research, for training, and for money, while important to get an effective job done, should not obscure the primary cause as to why it is being done. We have no national policy on adult literacy similar to that of the U.K., but. over tile last two and a half years, the efforts at consciousness-raising together with the dedication and commitment of workers in the field have helped many things happen. We have gained strength from our association with each other and while we may disagree over methods and techniques from time to time, it is generally the spirit of commitment to our fellow man which has kept us going.
Decisions on the future of The Movement will be made at the first meeting of the new Board in December. One of the decision will be on the future of this publication. At the Annual Meeting held in September (see p. 34), it was generally agreed that the Newsletter was unifying link between us and should be maintained. This issue certainly proves the point that people are willing to contribute to the Newsletter, to keep it going. We hope that YOU, too, want it to continue. For this to become a fait accompli, however, we will need your support for 1979. On page 38, there is a reminder to renew your membership, please do this soon.
As our new President says in his message, we have made a brave beginning. with courage, hope, determination and continued dedication towards the principle of lifelong learning for every Canadian, we should be able collectively to accomplish the aims of the Movement.