Educator honoured for her literacy efforts

White Rock's Muriel Endersby named province’s Woman of Wisdom

Woman of Wisdom and Passion award recipient Muriel Endersby (right) is congratulated by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International BC president Sheila Pierce.

Woman of Wisdom and Passion award recipient Muriel Endersby (right) is congratulated by Delta Kappa Gamma Society International BC president Sheila Pierce.

White Rock educator/entrepreneur Muriel Endersby (Fun Family Phonics) has received prestigious recognition for her work to boost English language education and literacy among the very poor in India.

Endersby is the 2013 recipient of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International BC’s Woman of Wisdom and Passion award, presented by society president Sheila Pierce at a recent luncheon at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis and Badminton Club.

An honour society of women educators in 18 countries, the organization is dedicated to promoting professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.

The annual award recognizes women who have worked diligently to improve the lives of others in their communities or in underdeveloped regions of the world, particularly those who inspire others through the leadership and passion they bring to their work.

The award to Endersby recognizes her initiative in training teachers in English-medium schools, both at the Teachers Training College in Hyderabad, India and in the poverty-stricken areas of Hyserabad, Lucknow, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and  Balasore.

Endersby, a widely experience primary grade and preschool educator – who originally developed her Fun Family Phonics series of books and materials while she was owner and operator of Mountainview Preschool in White Rock for 20 years – has refined and added to them as an organized program of teaching children the basic building blocks of the English language.

A boon to children in Canada, such skills have a huge potential impact on the lives of children in the poorest castes of India, with whom Endersby has been working for the past five years.

Many of the children come from families who are illiterate and the English language skills provide them with opportunities to work in paying occupations, rather than being sold by their families as sex-trade workers.

Endersby and husband Jack Gammer, a retired school principal, have worked with the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) Canada to bring the Fun Family Phonics program to the 104 Good Shepherd Schools in India.

The Dalit people have been a widely-oppressed caste in India for thousands of years – although they represent almost a quarter of the total population.

Endersby and Gammer’s outreach and materials have been funded by DFN and their church, Peace Portal Alliance, along with Endersby’s publishers, Tyndale House.

As the work has grown, Endersby has found others to help the program, including UBC PhD student Sylvia McLellan, who has assisted with teacher training for the past three years, and Ingrid Meneses, an educator from Chile, who has helped Endersby revise her materials and produce a workbook for each of the four years of the program.