On Tuesday morning, the Little Falls Public School ‘Me to We’ group presented their collection of excess school bags and school supplies to the Rotary Club of St. Marys for the Global Literacy Project. Accepting the donation with great thanks were Rotarians Ron Aitken and Linda Schuyler. Pictured with Little Falls students is teacher Robin Rutherford.
The Rotary Club’s Global Literacy Project originated when Rotarians from the Grand Bend club, led by Peter Twynstra, visited rural schools in the Mpumalanga Province in northeastern South Africa.
This school was staffed with enthusiastic teachers and full of eager “learners”, as the students are called there. The problem was that teaching aides, like blackboards, computers, and even desks and chairs, were not to be found. The group was taken by surprise with the lack of basic supplies that we take for granted here.
Not long after the group’s return home, one of the participants was horrified to see perfectly good desks being thrown into a dumpster behind a school which had recently closed in the area. She implored Peter to find a way to get these supplies over to the South African school that they had visited. This is how ‘Literacy Project’ came to be. After much negotiation and organization, the first container of surplus school supplies, including about 20,000 books, was loaded in the spring of 2009 and shipped to the very school in South Africa where the tour had visited. Needless to say, the teachers and learners were overjoyed with all of the bounty. The books, especially, created opportunities for reading that hadn’t existed previously.
Over the past decade, the Global Literacy project has grown considerably, with a total of 83 containers shipped for the benefit of children in schools in South Africa, Haiti and Guyana.
The Rotary Club of St. Marys is thankful for the help of the ‘Me to We’ group at Little Falls Public School and the ‘Global Voices” group at DCVI with this project.
If you have excess school supplies that you would like to donate, collection boxes will be present at Vet Purchasing, Meridian Credit Union, St. Marys Public Library, YMCA, DCVI and Little Falls until February 28th so to accommodate the next shipment which is in March.