April 20, 1998
Our story this week is a special event, because we are launching two learners stories on the Internet, and you can read their stories as well as hear them, with the proper audio program as shown below.
Ellen was born in England in 1941. At 14 years of age, and with very little schooling, she went to work in a factory. Because she was feeling very unhappy, at 18 years, she immigrated to Canada. She met and married her husband in 1962 and by 1969 she had four children. By 1979 the marriage failed and ended up in a divorce; she then moved with her children to Victoria on Vancouver Island. She lived on welfare for many years because of her lack of academic skills. This was the most humiliating, degrading experience she had ever felt. Ellen finally decided to get some schooling and went on to complete her grade twelve.
Thinking back about how three of her four children had left school between grades 7 and 10, she became aware that illiteracy can breed illiteracy. It was then that she started to become involved in being a spokesperson for adult learners. Ellen has been interviewed on radio and television to promote awareness for literacy and she has spoken to many schools and community groups. Some of the short stories, poetry and articles she has written have been published.
There has been a documentary on her life called, Ellen's Story. She has written her autobiography and is working on getting it published.' Ellen served on the Board of Directors for, Project Literacy Victoria for seven years and is now on the board of the READ Society. For her work in literacy, she received an award from the International English Speaking Union. In 1994, she was awarded The Flight for Freedom Award.
Play an audio version of this story
I want to be like the wind. It cannot read. The wind will sail a ship to shore bringing food to feed the poor, bringing smiles to a childs face as he blows their kites into place no matter what colour, greed or race. Yet the wind cannot read.
The wind can fly as high as a mountain while I dream to read as I sit by the fountain. My heart is of great sorrow and I already dread the coming of tomorrow. I am imprisoned, yet the wind is free and it cannot read.
The wind will fly a bird through the sky, blow great colours of the changing season while I still agonize to reason. Where is my freedom? While the wind flies books of joy to many places, for me they bring great fear of disgraces. Yet the wind cannot read.
The wind is loved and respected by many, seen by none, felt by all, seems so strong and seems so tall. Me, I just feel very small. Ho God could you teach me to read? Then I could be free. Take away my sorrow and let me see.
Come child, come ride with me. I will teach you to read and set you free, for I am the wind.