Supporting Solidarity: Anne McDonald

CoDev’s individual donors are instrumental in our work. Anne McDonald, a Surrey teacher and a member of Surrey Teachers’ Association’s International Solidarity Committee, is a long-time member and donor who has chosen to close the circle of giving and leave a legacy gift to CoDev.

How did you first hear about CoDev?

I first became aware of CoDev in 1999 when, as a member of BCTF, I took part in an English teaching project in Cuba.

What drew you to support CoDev personally as a donor?

I have had wonderful opportunities, both with the BCTF Cuba project and as a member of a CoDev teachers’ solidarity tour to Honduras in 2005, to see firsthand what CoDev projects are like. CoDev does good work in a lot of sectors, but I want to talk a little about why it is important to me as a teacher.

Standing in Havana’s Literacy Museum on a hot July afternoon in 1999, I was overwhelmed with emotion thinking about the literacy teachers who died, many of them murdered, in Cuba’s Literacy Campaign. I couldn’t help thinking of the price that too many teachers in Latin America and throughout the world have paid to do the same job that I do – teach people how to read and write. I truly realized for the first time that I was a member of an international sisterhood/brotherhood, that of teachers.

Through CoDev I have had a means to relate to these international colleagues as equals. More importantly, CoDev facilitates my union in working collaboratively and respectfully with unions in the south. It’s not about charity.We can help each other.

What aspects of CoDev’s programming are especially important to you and why?

I think the work CoDev does with the IDEA Network/ RED-SEPA on education policy is really important to B.C. teachers. B.C. teachers contribute funding, but it really is a two-way street. Seeing what neo-liberalism is imposing on our colleagues in the south, allows us to see larger patterns, strategize together and prepare for what may be heading our way too. I wish more B.C. teachers were aware of how often Latin American teacher unions have supported B.C. teachers’ contract struggles by protesting at Canadian embassies. It is really inspiring.

Among the many other things I appreciate about CoDev is the emphasis it places on training women
for leadership roles and the support it gives for the development of non-sexist and global education
teaching resources. CoDev’s advocacy for trade unionists whose lives are in danger is crucial, as is its
criticism of Canadian trade and investment in Latin America that does not respect workers’, indigenous
or environmental rights.

Why have you chosen to leave a planned gift to CoDev?

I think if CoDev is going to survive and carry on its work effectively and independently, all of us, both
unions and individual members, will have to be prepared to fully fund it. I like the symbolism of giving CoDev equal status with my sisters and brothers in my will. Really, it’s not likely to amount to much money, but I’d like to imagine that it could help somewhere. Who knows what new collaborations may be possible in the future?

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