It has been estimated that one-sixth of the world’s population are unable to read. The tragedy of illiteracy is that those who cannot read are denied personal independence and become victims of manipulation, poverty, and loss of dignity. It is a major obstacle for economic, political, social, and personal development. Illiteracy is a barrier to international understanding, cooperation, and peace in the world.
Literacy education was considered a program priority by Rotary’s original Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Committee in 1978 which lead to a source book on the issues of literacy in the world. Rotary clubs survey the needs of their community for literacy training by providing books, by reading to others, support language clinics – by promoting projects to open opportunities that come from the ability to read.
The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise continues their support in this effort by reading to the blind, supplying local third graders with dictionaries, and helping to build schools overseas and/or to buy books and supplies. The Club’s current President, Bill Boyd, has chosen a theme for the 2010-2011 year: “Empowering girls through education”. To this end, the Club is helping to develop a clean water and fish farming project at a secondary school in Nigeria.