Pad A Girl project helps girls stay in school

Students in white uniforms and green ties sit behind a long desk awaiting class to begin.
Students in Umudike Central, Abia State, Nigeria wait for class to begin. Pad A Girl assures that female students do not have to miss class due to feminine hygiene issues.

By Ada Wikina, international service chair, Rotary Club of North Cobb, Georgia, USA

As a young girl growing up in Nigeria in the 1960s, I did not talk about feminine hygiene, as it was almost taboo. So much so, that women either simply didn’t broach the subject with their daughters or they gave the responsibility to others. Or, as in my case, they would let an aunt who was a nurse explain it. Things have come a long way since then. I recently worked on the “Pad A Girl” project in my home country along with two Nigerian-based Rotary clubs. How did I get there?

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Rotary-supported story contest gives Tacoma youth a voice

The first-ever Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest invited youth to write about the ocean and what it means to them.

By Rosemary Ponnekanti

At first, Hope was reluctant. She was on the verge of flunking school through poor attendance. But when Kathleen Figetakis, literacy chair at Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, Washington, USA, asked the Tacoma senior for one little favor – to put up posters in her school for the Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest – Hope agreed. Six months later, she had not only won second prize in the contest, but she also graduated from high school – and helped the inaugural contest to be a wave of success. Continue reading

Literacy center dedicated to Pakistan Rotarian

Children at their school in Jhang, Pakistan, before the project provided new chairs, blackboard, and books.

By Michelle Tanner, past president Rotary Club of Matamata, New Zealand

A random Facebook message with an invitation to present at a Rotary polio conference in Lahore in 2014 was the start of an amazing journey that took me from rural New Zealand to Pakistan and culminated in a project to improve the education of children of garbage pickers in Jhang, Pakistan. Continue reading

Motorcycle rally targets illiteracy in India

RI President Gary C.K. Huang (left) waves the flag for the rally to proceed.

RI President Gary C.K. Huang (left) waves the flag for the rally to proceed.

By Bhavnesh Mehta, past president of the Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal

Our team of seven Rotary riders crossed India and Nepal in December on a motorcycle rally to support education and raise awareness of efforts to combat illiteracy in India.

Leaders in District 3060 (India) came up with the idea following last year’s rally, a grand success, which celebrated Rotary’s triumph over polio. After the eradication of polio, Rotary members in India are most keen to see illiteracy eliminated. The Rotary India Literacy Mission, chaired by past RI Director Shekhar Mehta, has a clear objective of making India 100 percent literate by 2017 through the TEACH program: offering teacher support, e-learning, adult literacy, child development, and the formation of happy schools. Continue reading

Empowering young minds by promoting reading

Books Feeding Minds project participants. Photo courtesy of Judy Backlund

Books Feeding Minds project participants. Photo courtesy of Judy Backlund

By Judy Backlund, past president of the Ellensburg Morning Rotary Club, Washington, USA, and chair of International Reading Association-Rotary International Special Interest Group.

First and foremost, I am a teacher. I have also been a member of the International Reading Association for 20 years. And I’m a member of Rotary. My involvement with Rotary began about eight years ago when I attended a fireside event with my husband, also a Rotary member. One of the presentations described Rotarian-led U.S. and international literacy related projects. As a teacher I sat in awe and by the end of the presentation my head was spinning by possibilities. I said “sign me up.” Continue reading