WE LEARN (Women Expanding Literacy Education Action Resource Network)

is a community promoting women’s literacy as a tool that fosters empowerment and equity for women.

Kathryn Ssedoga, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

KSsedogaKathryn Ssedoga has embraced her participation in WE LEARN with gusto. She first sent writing for Women’s Perspectives #4, along with some photographs she had taken.

The committee enjoyed her photos so much she received an Honors Award for them. They were placed on the front cover and started a new trend. Since then Women’s Perspectives all have had color photos on the cover! Using her student scholarship award, Kathryn was able to raise additional funding for her travel to the 2009 conference. She ventured on her own from Guelph, Ontario Canada to Providence, RI USA. She also developed and presented a workshop called Laughter as a Literacy Tool. It was enjoyed and embraced by many conference participants.

Since then Kathryn has participated in WE LEARN in many ways:

In Spring 2009, Kathryn wrote of her experience with WE LEARN:

“Passion is the word that best sums up my experience of WE LEARN. Passion is a life-giving self-renewing energy force. I am a passionate woman and it was my passion for laughter and healing that lead the way and gave me courage to put in an application to do a workshop.

At WE LEARN I met many other passionate women. Women passionate about women and literacy! This shared passion allowed us to bond together for a weekend as equals. The conference provided an arena where passionate women honoured one another, not because of academic, social or economic standing, but because our shared pas­sion allowed us to see the innate value within each other without needing to rely on some external measure, title or label.

At different times in my life I have been at social justice events. I have heard the ideal of equality and equity spo­ken of and preached but, until I went to the WE LEARN Conference, I had never experienced it lived.”

Student Scholarship Fund

Through the Student Scholarship Fund in honor of the work of Elizabeth Morrish, WE LEARN reserves funds designated for scholarships and stipends to adult learners for their participation in WE LEARN activities.

Examples include:

  • Awards for selected writing sent to Women’s Perspectives
  • Conference registrations
  • Travel-related expenses for conference and special events
  • Student participation on the board of directors, leadership development projects, and other student-focused activities

altThis fund operates solely from donations or special fundraising events. When making a donation, be sure to indicate your support to this fund.

How to receive an ABE student scholarship award….

  • Women’s PerspectivesSend your writing by the deadline. Be sure to follow the guidelines for the issue. From all the writings we receive, the Selection Committee chooses the ones that show outstanding effort and give clear expression to the theme. Cash awards are given in two categories, Honors and Honorable Mention.
  • Conference: Use the Application Form available on our conference web page. Forms are generally available in November and awards are made in January prior to the conference.
  • Leadership activities: As available. Please, watch for announcements.

Our ability to give financial awards or stipends depends on how much we have in the fund account. We have no set amount for any award.

Elizabeth Morrish (1952-2003)

WE LEARN’s Student Scholarship Fund was created to honor the memory of Elizabeth Morrish and to commemorate her work and commitment to adult learners. A creative teacher and strong women's advocate, Elizabeth was committed to working with learners on issues of health and violence, especially as they affect women. Elizabeth worked for World Education from 1995 to 2003. Her roles included Director of the Women, Violence, and Adult Education Project, Literacy Specialist for the Health Education and Literacy (HEAL) Project, Director of the Statewide Technical Assistance Program, and Project Coordinator for the Channing L. Bete Company Evaluation Project. At the time of her passing, Elizabeth had been supporting WE LEARN in our early development. Many of our founding members were friends and colleagues to Elizabeth. We still miss her vision, energy, and guidance.

Some of Elizabeth’s work and writing can still be found on the Internet:

  • The Change Agent: Issue 4, Feb. 1997 with focus on Health & Literacy Several articles authored by Elizabeth
  • HEAL: BCC Curriculum Health Education and Adult Literacy: Breast & Cervical Cancer (Elizabeth contributed as a consultant on this project)
  • Ideas in Action: Participatory Health and Literacy Education with Adults
  • Forming a Health Team
  • Spiral Model
  • Reflections on the Women, Violence, and Adult Education Project in Focus on Basics, Volume 5, Issue C, February 2002.
  • Take on the Challenge: A Source Book from the Women, Violence, and Adult Education Project (2002)
  • Teachers' Concerns About Incorporating Health into Adult Education Field Notes, Vol. 10 #4, Health & Literacy, Spring 2001