25th Anniversary Message by Madam Leow Kam Foong
Three weeks ago, a mother ventured into the container that serves as my makeshift classroom as a volunteer teacher in a wheatbelt town in Western Australia. Accompanying her was her neighbour, 56 years of age, an Aboriginal lady who went through school but never learnt to read.
The mother said, “I thought she should learn to read and write.”
Her neighbour protested, “I can’t. I never will. I’m dyslexic. I suffered from fits when I was young. No teacher has been able to help me. And I’m too old now.”
I looked at her and quietly asked, “But do you want to read?”
She replied, “I want to.”
“Please, take a seat.” I said.
The first VITAL YEARS lesson started for her. Despite her fears and failings, she was able to journey into the world of print – like a child opening their eyes for the first time.
Consider some of the giants of industry, Ford, Microsoft, Tesla, Apple. Think of how they have enhanced our experience of the world and driven human progress. Yet there is no technological marvel that can replace the simple miracle of guiding a person to decipher print, whether they be twenty-four months or fifty-six years. In this, for a quarter of a century, VITAL YEARS has stood tall.