Rotary International directs our attention to Literacy issues during the month of March. Basic Education and Literacy is one of the six Humanitarian Areas of Focus that Rotary International has identified as a foundation for The Rotary Foundation (TRF) grant funding model. Literacy and poverty are closely connected, and at least 1.2 billion poor people cannot read or write. Rotarians around the world partner with local schools to give children better opportunities.
Our district has embraced “The Dictionary Project” as one way for our clubs to support literacy objectives on a community level. We elevated “The Dictionary Project” as one of district goals this year in the hope that we could insure that all third graders in our district receive a dictionary of their own from Rotarians or some other resource that also supports this program. Clubs in our district also support a variety of Literacy projects on an international scale.
We would like to know more about the Literacy projects that your club is supporting in your community or in other parts of the Rotary world. In the next few weeks, club presidents will receive a survey from our District Literacy Chair Amy Shane. Please take time to complete and return this survey so we can share ideas and collaborate in support of similar projects with one another. If you haven’t already done so, you may also want to include all of your club projects in the Rotary Showcase available through RI’s Member Access site.
Basic Education and Literacy is also the vocational focus area chosen for the Group Study Exchange (GSE) that our District will conduct with Brazilian District 4580 in April, May, and June this year. The inbound team of educators from Brazil will arrive in our district in mid-April. Our clubs in Broken Bow, Curtis/North Platte Sunrise, O’Neill, Chadron, and Grant will host them. These clubs are busy preparing hospitality and educational exchange opportunities for our guest GSE Team. Our outbound team of educators from our district will leave for their exchange experience in Brazil in mid-May. We are looking forward to hearing from both of these GSE Teams at our District Conference in O’Neill on April 27, 2013.
Many of you know that PDG Bill Ballou loves books and has a burning passion for International Service Projects. During the past few weeks, Bill has been sharing his enthusiasm with me about a project that provides a way for discarded textbooks to be salvaged, stored, sorted, and loaded into sea containers bound for countries in southern Africa, Central and South America, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. This is an example of a project that falls squarely under the Basic Education and Literacy focus category. If you would like more information about this project, Bill encourages you to contact him and look at the information located at this link: http://www.clubrunner.ca/Portal/story/StoryDetail.aspx?accountid=6721&sid=247250&stid=
In closing, here is a quote by Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat and the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient:
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. Especially for girls and women, it is an agent of family health and nutrition. For everyone, everywhere, literacy is, along with education in general, a basic human right…Literacy is, finally, the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”
In Service of Rotary,
Dian Edwards, District Governor