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A lifelong educator receives a surprise call from the GG’s office


Strini Reddy was surprised to receive a call from the Governor General’s office informing him that he had been selected to become a member of the Order of Canada. 

“Never occurred to me that I might be the recipient of such an honour,” he says. “That’s the natural progression when you think you are a has-been that not too many people are paying attention to! But seriously, I was not working for the honour and recognition.”

Recognized for his engagement in community causes as an advocate for social justice, racial understanding, literacy and poverty reduction, Reddy is an educator who has served as principal, chief superintendent, and consultant in Manitoba and the co-founder of a program that has made a positive impact in the lives of thousands of students.

Shaped by his life experiences growing up in Apartheid South Africa, he says he was also influenced by his mother’s outlook.

“She used to say, if you are going to defend yourself against injustice, get an education.”

Things were difficult in his home country and Reddy moved to Canada in 1971 after stints in South Rhodesia, North Rhodesia and England.

“People ask us why we chose to settle in the cold North and I say when you are trying to survive, the geographic location is the least of your worries. That said, I feel blessed. We learnt a lot and made many good friends. I was given the opportunity to work with indigenous communities, particularly children from First Nations across the river, those who didn’t have an easy pathway to success.”

Reddy began working with Newcomer Youth Education Support Services and helped start the Community School Investigators (CSI) summer enrichment program. With the support of Rotary Club, he has also involved children in Winnipeg schools in clean water projects in Zimbabwe.

Reddy’s great grandparents moved to South Africa from what is now Andhra Pradesh in India, and now there are four generations of his family in Canada.

“We are a classic example of you never know where life will take you!” he chuckles. “Keep your child knowledgeable about where you come from. Not everyone made it out, remember those who are still there and do what you can to help.

“I am often asked why I am still at it when I retired nearly 20 years ago. I say, there is so much inequity in the world, one can’t not to anything. As long as I have a body that is moving and a half-active mind, I will continue to do so.”  

Posted: Nov 2, 2018

December 2018



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