To Serve and Learn- The Journey of a Pioneer - Podcast #43

Helen Zokowski is an extraordinary woman and a pioneer for CUSO-VSO. In 1961, the Canadian Overseas Volunteers (COV), to become CUSO, sent its first 15 volunteers out on assignments, Helen was one of those volunteers. She majored in languages (Russian, English and Polish). Working in Toronto she met with Keith Spicer who was doing his PhD at U of Toronto at the time. He was inspired by Donald K Farris PhD who wrote the book called “To Plough with Hope”. The ideas was to send young Canadian just out of University to share skills and bring back International experience. The motto was to Serve and Learn. A meeting was held at U of T and 80 students were interested in the concept. A Group of 15 were chosen. 10 were to go India, 3 to Ceylon and 2 to Borneo. She began her preparation with no previous teacher training. She was to go to Malaysia. During her preparation she met Clenn Wodrife and after a 3 month courtship they were off to Malaysia as husband and wife celebrating their honeymoon on board the ship that was to take them to their assignment. They moved to Malaysia where she went to teach English and then taught British History. Clenn taught Math and Sciences. Surviving on an $80/ month stipend, the two did exactly what they set out to accomplish and in return for their efforts, Helen made life time friends and gained a new perspective and outlook on life. To learn more about Helen's adventures abroad have a listen.

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