JUNE 5, 1956
NEW YORK—I came to New York bright and early from Hyde Park on Thursday of last week and went at once to my American Association for the United Nations office to see a number of people and make a recording of my recollections of Mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia. I was glad to do this, for I always had a great admiration for our courageous and sometimes fiery Mayor.
In the afternoon, I saw a number of people at my apartment, among them a Mrs. Carmella Renner from Sierra Leone, West Africa.
She has been here as one of the United Nations' internes and is a member of the board of the International Council of Women. Her husband, who died last year, had been chief medical officer of his state and she is going to continue his work in social service, but emphasizing help for women.
She is returning to her country and hoping to work with the women of the West and the East Coast of Africa. Among the African states, Sierra Leone has led in education. For a long time it had the only university in Africa and people came there from many other countries to be educated.
Mrs. Renner said there are many potentialities to be developed in the African continent, and she foresaw that both British and American capital would be used in this development.
So far, she said, the incoming capital has recognized the value of good medical health and some of the best hospitals have been built by industrial firms. They also have seen the value of raising the standard of living by better housing.
But Mrs. Renner feels there is one step forward that must be considered necessary by those who wish to achieve the best financial returns on their investments there. She goes on the theory that man does not live by bread alone. Health and housing are important to his physical development and well-being, but she feels that the industrial firms would gain greatly in working with the African governments in the development of education.
Mrs. Renner thinks money for universal elementary and secondary schooling would be the first great requirement. She would like to see adult education made a part of such a program, if the money could be found, because she feels the profit the women would derive from that would help in making their influence of great value in the general development of their country.
Anyone who has traveled through the Near and Far East will attest to the fact that where the women are being educated, are working in their communities and being active in their government, these nations are moving ahead more rapidly than where the women are being kept out of the scheme of development.
I was much impressed by Mrs. Renner and hope her ideas will receive attention by those who invest in the foreign field.