a new dawn - a vision of hope

Literacy and its place in Rotary service

Literacy - a global problem

globeandbooks (10K)

A lack of literacy is not the the domain of poor countries, we in the UK have a level of literacy that is unacceptable for a developed country.  However, in the less well developed countries, where their infrastructure and resources are poor, there is much less opportunity for their children to be educated and become literate.

Take Zambia as an instance.  It is a classic example of a Third World country devastated by Aids, ravaged by natural disasters and strangled by poverty, yet its people and country are a delight.  Zambian children, as in any country, are its future, but they struggle with a further problem - a lack of educational opportunity.

Zambia has huge potential which could be realised with development programmes, BUT these cannot happen whilst limited educational opportunities keep literacy levels as low as they are.

Literacy from a Rotary perspective

Rotary International, the global service organisation, is fully aware of the importance of education and its core subjects, Literacy and Numeracy. Its view was summarised recently in the following;

"The ability to read, write and do simple maths is not only critical to progress and prosperity, it is necessary for the very survival of individuals in a modern society."

For many societies in the Third World countries, where charitable assistance and support are almost essential to survival, Rotary International made the following statement:

"Literacy and Numeracy projects allow Rotarians to make a creative contribution to building nations, reducing poverty and opening up opportunities to those that need them."

In the light of these beliefs, Rotary International has added Literacy and Numeracy to the core service projects it has always offered through its Health, Hunger and Humanity programmes.

Rotary service - the world over

lesley-polioplus (64K)

Rotary has an enviable reputation for getting things done while others talk!  Despite billions of dollars of aid provided by the UN and many Governments, many nations still have profound needs.  Two current programmes exemplify the Rotary aim to be of service to humanity.  These are:

  • Shelter Box - a container measuring 3ft x 2ft x 2ft the contents of which gives immediate relief and support in the wake of any natural or man-made disaster.  This equips the stricken community with the necessities for survival in the critical early days of the event.
  • Polio Plus - where in partnership with the World Health Organisation, the programme is on the verge of eradicating Polio globally.

Rotary service - reaching out from our own community

Each of our communities is associated with a Rotary Club carrying out service projects, not only locally but on an international front as well.  The Trust's partner club, the Rotary Club of Roborough, Plymouth has a proven track record of innovative service projects, but of relevance is that it was involved recently with a Literacy project with one of its local Primary schools.

osgoodsarrive (50K)

Ideas for service come from many sources, but most often a visiting speaker addresses the Club and the germ of an idea is formed.  In 2005, the Roborough Club hosted a speaker from a local charity called Operation Sunshine and heard of its work sending reconditioned goods to assist communities in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Tanzania.  The goods were used in communities in these countries to help bring individuals out of subsistence living.

Having been enthused by Operation Sunshine and learnt of the plight of children in the parts of Zambia in which they worked, it was felt that something should be done to give those children a better opportunity.  But first we needed to understand more.  Critically Operation Sunshine had links with communities and schools, so we decided that with their blessing, we would follow up on their links with Zambia and learn of the country, its people and their needs.