Literacy Task Force
2000-2001

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Frank J. Devlyn

Together We Can Change The World

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Literacy is fundamental to human development.  Literacy is the single most important factor for human economic improvement and quality of life. In fact, literacy helps even in the meeting of the basic needs of food, shelter and clothing.

It has been seen that the higher the literacy rate of a community or a country is, the better is the health and living conditions of its people. Literacy is directly proportionate to the human progress, and it is literacy that breaks the cycle of poverty, hunger and disease, continuing generation after generation. The reverse is far more dangerous. Illiteracy of today, if not cared for will produce many times more illiterates in the future pulling down the pockets of prosperity anywhere. Men and women, who are illiterate, will not qualify for jobs in the competitive modern work place and will automatically drift towards negative forces of society: drugs, homelessness, criminality.

Literacy is the answer for many of the problems facing the society. It, therefore, deserves the utmost attention of all the Rotarians and has to be on the emphasis program of every Rotary club.

It is a challenge for the Literary Task Force for 2000-2001 to create awareness amongst all the Rotary clubs towards the need for literacy promotion and to encourage them to take up appropriate programs.

Mission Statement

To establish effective literacy projects among the quarter of the World's population which is illiterate and where the level of literacy is substantially low.

Action Plan

  • Identify areas of the world where the population is largely illiterate
  • Encourage Rotary clubs and districts to initiate some form of literacy program where the level of literacy is low, especially among adults who are functional illiterates
  • Assist Rotary clubs and districts to undertake projects of reading to children; providing tutoring; contributing to children's libraries; collecting books for needy communities; sponsoring adult literacy programs; supporting reading contests in the community; and encouraging other programs to promote reading
  • Encourage rotary clubs to support local community literacy organizations
  • Promote Matching Grants to conduct literacy programs (such as Lighthouse Literacy projects) in areas of the world where substantial illiteracy is a major community or national problem.

ALL CLUBS CAN PARTICIPATE

Rotary clubs in every community and country can participate.

  • There are countries where basic education cannot be taken for granted and literacy needs are often overwhelming. Clubs in these areas have unlimited opportunities of getting involved.
  • There are countries that are developed with well-provided basic education, but have gaps in the provision of early childhood education and care, and in adult education. In some of these countries functional illiteracy is still at high rate. Clubs here can concentrate on the pockets of under development and illiteracy, making more focused need based programs.
  • Then there are fortunate countries that have already near full literacy rate. Clubs here can extend themselves in supporting clubs in other countries where opportunities exist and literacy is most needed.
  • Regardless of which country a Rotary club belongs, it can initiate, support and sustain a literacy program in its own community or a neighborhood community or through another Rotary club in a community abroad.

If education is expensive, taking up a literacy program costs much resource, we must ask ourselves. What is the price of ignorance? When we open a mind, we open a heart as well. We open the door to possibilities.

Rotary can and will open the door to these possibilities.

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