WELTHY FISHER & SAKSHARTA NIKETAN
Welthy Fisher (nee Housinger) was born on 18th, September 1879 in the town of Rome in the United States of America. In her earlier years she trained for opera singing and was a melodious singer. However, inspired by an evangelist, Dr. Robert Speers, she quit the glittering world of opera. Five years after her graduation from Syracuse University in 1900 she left for China where she worked till 1917 as Principal of a school for girls in Nanchang in the Kiangsi province. Her first visit to India was in 1920. After her marriage to Frederick Bohn Fisher, a Methodist Bishop in India, she travel- led extensively in the country. She also had the privilege of meeting Mahatma Gandhi land Rabindranath Tagore. After the death of her husband she dedicated herself to the service of humanity with renewed vigour. She spent several years and visited several countries to study educational methodology. During the course of her visit to India in 1947, she met Mahatma Gandhi on 15 December 1947. Gandhi had then advised her to go to villages and help the villagers.
Welthy Fisher came back to India in 1952. She started an adult literacy class for the villagers in a verandah of the Agricultural Institute at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh in 1953. She constantly experimented with various teaching aids, preparing and selecting books for the adult neo-literates and developed a literacy kit to equip a teacher to teach 25 students at a time.
Later on she moved from Allahabad to Lucknow, acquired land and, with the help of renowned architect Lauri Baker constructed 'Saksharta Niketan' (Literacy House). For twenty years she devoted every minute of her waking hours to the welfare of the Indian villager. In 1973 she handed over the management of' he institute to the India Literacy Board and went back to the United States, where she is still active in her chosen field of work. She has been honoured with many awards; the prestigious among them are Nehru Literacy Award, Ramon Magsaysay Award, Doctor of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) of the University of Syracuse, U.S. Government Special Award on the Inter- national Literacy Day in 1978, UNESCO Literacy Prize, etc.
The P & T Department is privileged to issue a special stamp to honour a devoted friend of India.
Description of Design: The design of the stamp depicts a view of the,Saksharta Niketan' (Literacy House) established by Welthy Fisher (inset) in Lucknow (India).
The First Day Cover shows the portrait of Welthy Fisher.
The design of the First Day Cancellation shows a book, quill and ink-pot symbolising adult literacy.
Date of Issue: 18.3.1980