Basic education and literacy
The key to a brighter future is access to basic education and literacy. Yet 75 million children worldwide — 41 million of them girls — have no access to education, and about 677 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Rotary volunteers worldwide have led low-cost literacy programs that fund teacher training, start student mentoring programs, and build schools and libraries.
A literary whirlwind
With a global vision guiding their service efforts, this year Canadian and U.S. Rotary clubs embarked on a comprehensive plan to help meet educational and literacy needs in communities in 10 countries. District 5020 — which includes clubs in British Columbia, Canada, and Washington, USA — received two Rotary Foundation Global Grants for education and literacy initiatives in Honduras and the Philippines, and a district grant in 2011 that will fund educational projects in eight countries, totaling nearly $230,000 in support.
Rotarians first conducted an assessment to identify community needs. "This experience and trust, often gained with smaller initial projects, enables our clubs to have confidence in the host partners," says Brian Beagle, chair of the district’s Rotary Foundation committee.
In Kenya, 500 children in 10 schools are improving their reading skills with the help of books, supplies, and teacher training provided by Rotarians. In Peru, Canadian and local clubs installed solar panels that supply power to three schools, while in Canada, Rotarians are providing books for a local library reading program.