In continuance with Rotary’s mission to achieve total literacy goals through teacher support, e-learning, adult literacy, child development and establishing happy schools (abbreviated as T-E-A-C-H) Rotary clubs across the country are doing several activities to promote literacy in their community.
Members of Rotary Club of Ankleshwar, RI District 3060 are also participating in a big way to take literacy to the unreached. At the start of the last Rotary year, the club under the leadership of Rtn Meera Panjwani and PDG Ashok Panjwani launched a unique partnership with Jhagadia Industries Ltd., Bharuch (JIA) and Pratham, an NGO that is working for the education of underprivileged children in 21 States of India, as also USA, UK, Germany and UAE.
A programme to this effect was launched in July 2013 by the District Collector of Bharuch, Avantika Singh at Vataria Primary School in the tribal village, Valia. It includes providing education to 12 surrounding villages of Valia and Jhagadia taluks of Bharuch district, Gujarat.
A team comprising Rotarians of the club and members of JIA was formed for the purpose and a Village Development Programme was evolved in each village. Pratham’s expertise was used to provide education to children and adults. The learning activities included solving basic Arithmetic operations, science camps and fairs to help children understand basic scientific fundamentals. To achieve the objectives, the literacy team conducts intensive learning camps in schools.
Parents are also involved in this learning procedure. Simple learning materials are given to them to help them assist their children. This makes the home a conducive environment for children to study especially in these regions with low priority for education.
Science fairs are organised in the schools to encourage children to understand and get interested in the subject. Students are chosen to be trained by Vigyan Mitras who demonstrate various scientific concepts such as magnetism, gravity, climate, astronomy, human anatomy etc., and these children, called as Bal Vigyan Mitras, in turn demonstrate the same to their classmates, parents, teachers and members of the community. Star gazing workshops called Camp Galileo enables the children and the villagers to understand the magnificence of our universe as they observe the planets, stars and satellites through a telescope.
For all these interesting topics to be passed on effectively to the children, the literacy team gets trained by Pratham who orients them with the methodology and activities that will be conducted at the schools.
Today, after a year, the surveys undertaken at Jhagadia and Valia taluks show impressive progress. While at the start of the programme only 11.3 percent of children could read a paragraph of text, after 22 days at camp, the figure jumped to a whopping 70.6 percent, with 59.3 percent being fluent readers! Similarly, children who could perform addition operations improved from 54.7 percent to 83 percent. This success has motivated the club to expand its programmes to more hamlets.