6 Areas of Focus

Basic Education and Literacy

For most of us, reading and writing are as natural as breathing. But imagine if you didn’t have the functional literacy skills needed to complete a job application, sign a check, understand a child’s report card, or read a prescription. While the overall number of illiterate persons has fallen since 2000, 781 million adults — 15 percent of the world’s adult population — still lack basic reading and writing skills. Women account for nearly two-thirds of illiterate adults.

More than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. That’s 17 percent of the world’s adult population. Rotary’s goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy. Rotary supports education for all children and literacy for children and adults.
HOW ROTARY MAKES HELP HAPPEN
We take action to empower educators to inspire learning at all ages:
  • TEACHER TRAINING
    • We share our knowledge and experience with educators and other professionals who work with vulnerable populations.
  • ADULT LITERACY
    • Rotary members fight adult illiteracy by working with local advocates to offer community literacy programs.
  • ROTARY SCHOLARSHIPS
    • Rotary members invest in the future by giving scholarships to students who have the potential to change our communities.
  • EDUCATING REFUGEES
    • A university president and Rotary club fight Boko Haram to bring education and food to refugees in Nigeria.
  • COACHING TEACHERS
    • Realizing that getting children into school isn’t enough, Rotary shifts to mentoring and coaching teachers.
  • SCHOOLS4FREEDOM
    • The Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery has a strategy for fighting modern slavery that’s working at the local level.
  • MENTORING STUDENTS
    • Rotary club pairs students with celebrity and CEO mentors for success.
OUR IMPACT ON EDUCATION
The Rotary Foundation supports education through scholarships, donations, and service projects around the world.
Rotary members make amazing things happen, like:
  • Opening schools: In Afghanistan, Rotary members opened a girls’ school to break the cycle of poverty and social imbalance.
  • Teaching adults to read: Rotary members in the United States partnered with ProLiteracy Detroit to recruit and train tutors after a study showed that more than half of the local adult population was functionally illiterate.
  • New teaching methods: The SOUNS program in South Africa, Puerto Rico and the United States teaches educators how to improve literacy by teaching children to recognize letters by sounds instead of names.
  • Making schools healthy: Rotarians are providing clean, fresh water to every public school in Lebanon so students can be healthier and get a better education.

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