PDG Natty Moodley's wonderful story

I met with a client of mine two weeks ago. A simple man with not much education who runs a pub and disco. He was relating to me his life story and how he battled to bring up his three children (all girls) who today have excelled at school and in their professional lives.

His eldest daughter is a civil engineer and manager for a large construction company in Johannesburg. His second daughter qualified as a medical doctor in December last year and his youngest daughter is a 5th year medical student. What was his secret to ensuring their success, you may ask?

Well, you have to believe this. He said that when they started to read, he bought each a dictionary and a notebook. He requested each of them to write down the word they did not understand into this notebook. He then taught them how to use the dictionary and each had to write down the meaning of the word. He talked at great length on how he would sit with them each evening going through these words and how each learnt from the other. He said that within years they had developed a substantial vocabulary which now holds them in great stead in their lives.

This truly inspired me and a dictionary will be the first book that I shall buy for my grandchildren when they arrive, some time in the future.

RC Breede River, Winelands, D9350

Greetings again Michael, I collected our box of Books of Knowledge yesterday. Thank you. I opened and had a look at them again, and they are real little gems ! Our children will be delighted. Kind regards Jenny k.

Lona Corporate Gift

We are so grateful to receive donation of atlases from your company. Our school Legoleng Primary thank you very much for your kindness. I, Charles Motubatse M.C. Principal of the school I am so delighted. May God bless you.

RC Harare Central, Zimbabwe D9210 donation of dictionaries by RC Burnham Beeches, UK D1090

Email of thanks sent 16 May 2016 To Burnham Beeches UK, Speedlink Couriers Zimbabwe, DHL South Africa and all others involved.

Dear All

Words alone cannot fully express our deep gratitude to the Rotary Club of Burnham Beeches for their wonderful generosity. Our fledgling partnership with them started over 6 years ago when one of their members, Zimbabwean born Chorus Nyamakunda visited our club. We soon discovered that he and I grew up in the same neighbourhood and had several mutual acquaintances. The rest is history.

The Rotary Club of Harare Central has a passion for education and literacy initiatives which dates back to the 1980's the first decade of Zimbabwe's independence. In partnership with the American Brother's Brother Foundation, Harare Central shipped in and distributed over 7 million new and second hand books for elementary, primary, secondary and tertiary level institutions. During my presidency in 2012 - 2013, we teamed up with the Zimbabwe Reads Trust and shipped in over 50,000 brand new books from the Cambridge, Massachusetts based Sabre Foundation when it wound up. Harare Central oversaw the distribution of 1,385 medicine textbooks valued at over $250,000.00 to the College of Health Sciences at the University of Zimbabwe and 12 church run nurse training schools in rural Zimbabwe. In the last 5 years, we have partnered with Book Aid International in identifying and equipping disadvantaged primary, secondary and tertiary schools with quality reading material.

The kind donation of 600 Usborne's Illustrated English dictionaries will go a long way in improving command of the English language by over 1,000 students in Hurungwe, rural Mashonaland province as they prepare to graduate to high school. Poor grasp of English puts rural students at a disadvantage as all but one subject in high school is taught in English. Our target was to provide 1,000 books and we will work hard to court sponsors for the remaining 400.

Have a blessed day and we will keep you posted on our plans for the official handover.

Yours In Rotary Service
Tember Percy Banda – Past President.

The Rotary Foundation Chairman

Rotary Club of Harare Central

2014 -2017 Rotary Youth Exchange Chair

RI District 9210 (Malawi, Northern Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe)

RC Maloti, D9320, Lesotho - Donation to St Angela Cheshire Home for the Disabled


Hi Michael,

Mission accomplished! We have been delighted to have been able to bring joy to the children of the St Angela Cheshire Home for the Disabled.

The Home was celebrating its 38th Anniversary which was graced by His Majesty King Letsie III. The King is the Patron of St Angela and also of our Club.

The presentation was made on behalf of our Club by AG Maud Boikanyo to Mrs 'Mabakoena Cheone the Chair of the Board of St Angela. She then handed over one of the dictionaries to His Majesty. The third picture shows some of the recipients. The picture also shows, from left to right, PDG Frank, PP Bore, AG Maud, and PP Geoff who is Director of the Foundation Committee.

Please extent our gratitude to DHL, Isabel, Graham and all who made it happen. We are expressing this appreciation on behalf of the children whose joyous and smiling faces filled us with humility for work well done.

I am glad to note the remittance has been reflected in the designated Club account.

Kindest regards in the Service of Rotary.

PDG Frank Baffoe

Patron: Patrick D. Chisanga, ROTA Chair 2014 - 16

Africa is in desperate need for Knowledge and Education. Our dictionary project will help to provide the key to Knowledge and Education to many, across our great continent.

RC Kenton on Sea, D9370 - PP Stella Swanson

As a retired school teacher, let me assure you that I am PASSIONATE about the acquisition of Dictionary Skills!!! Our club; the Rotary Club of Kenton on Sea, sponsored dictionaries for several of our schools in our area and I personally held Workshops for the teachers in the townships, to help them with their introductory lessons. The workshops and my attendance at lessons in the schools, ensured that the donated dictionaries were :

1. Stamped with a school stamp.

2. Housed in a locked storeroom or cupboard. ( In 1 instance, our Club supplied the cupboard).

3. The teachers were themselves equipped to give the lessons and follow up written work.

4. The dictionaries did not end up in a gutter somewhere or damaged in any way.

It was sad for us to discover, that many of our teachers were not able to use a dictionary themselves! We gave every teacher their own copy, which they were delighted to receive.

I was later invited to East London to workshop a group of township teachers and this was a fun- filled , enriching experience for all of us. The teachers enjoyed the dictionary games as much as their learners would – in fact there were shrieks of delight as they won small prizes.

Be assured of my support. I firmly believe, that knowing your way around a dictionary, will help a child for life!

Yours as we serve in Rotary together.

Stella Swanson (PP and Youth Committee member

RC Newcastle, D9370

Extract from an email from Gordon Dowsett to Michael Johnson: ....You will be pleased to hear that the last 5 dictionaries I still had have been presented to a local refuge for ``street children``. There are some 40 children from 8 years old to Grade 12 under the aegis of the local Methodist Church and Rotary. You would be delighted to see how avidly they consume the information. Bicycle, for example, has opened a whole new world for them!!!!!

RC Windhoek, D9350

Dear Michael

Rotary Club Windhoek remains committed to promotion of literacy. Resulantlly you can count on our support and expect follow-up orders for dictionaries over the coming years. Obviously order placement is linked to resource availability.

Best wishes with the project expansion plans. An excellent initiative, as it is well known that low literacy rates retard economic development in a high number of sub-Saharan countries.

Yours in Rotary service.

Danny Meyer

RC Westville, D9270

Like it!!

PDG Richard Fisher, June 2013

RC Pretoria, D 9400

Love the new website! Professional!

PDG Jan van Zyl

RC Windhoek, D9350

Great web site ! Congratulations.

President Peter Stoermer

RC Cape of Good Hope, D9350

The Rotary Club Cape of Good Hope (RCCoGH) has, to date, distributed in excess of 70 dictionaries all which have been remarkably well received.

Beneficiaries included:

E-T-E – a trust, backed by RCCoGH, established to put deserving students from Green Curtains and Masakhane through Model C schools on a bursary basis;
HOKISA – provides housing, care and education to children affected by AIDS. HOKISA is supported by RCCoGH;
VDP has long been supported by RCCoGH which built the two pre-primary schools that are run by VDP. They are are a beacon of hope in the Fish Hoek Valley and provide Early Childhood Development not only to these schools but to twenty-eight day-care centres;
The Red Hill Community Library is a joint project between RCCoGH and Rotary Club of Marlow Thames where we have built a library and day-care centre;
Paul Greyling and Fish Hoek Primary are two of the schools that educate the E-T-E bursary students and the donations were specifically focused for the use of underprivileged learners.
Future recipients will include, inter alia, Sun Valley Primary School (also educating E-T-E bursary holders), additional copies for Fish Hoek Primary and participants in workshops being run by the Children’s Book Network (a new trust, supported by RCCoGH) which aims to encourage children in use of language.

RC Kromboom, D9350

Here are the photos. Sizwe is 8 years and his younger sister, Nduduzo who is 2 years, insisted on having her photo with the dictionary taken as well. So the seeds have been sown!

Sizwe is thrilled with his Usborne Dictionary. Instead of watching TV he prefers to read his dictionary and ask his Mom, Gugu, tricky questions. He also uses it to help him with his spelling.

A big thank you to both of you and to Kromboom Rotary Club for sending this Usborne Dictionary and for opening more windows of knowledge

I will be making a donation into your Reach Out to Africa Literacy Initiative account.


Jo Earle

RC Gordon's Bay, D9350

To Literacy for All from Margie Owen-Smith, The Home Language Project

.......The concept we are teaching is that a dictionary task should usually be set in relation to whatever is being taught. This involves learners having to look up precise meanings of selected words/phrases they have been reading and using them in English in the lesson ...and then writing their English meanings into their Personal Dictionaries.

Then for homework they have to include an explanation in their home language (HL). This translation/versioning exercise involves discussions at home or with appropriate others in their community, and then finally with their home-language teacher (ie the HL teacher and all subject teachers are regarded as part of the language development team).

The dictionaries are currently being used in our teacher training programme simply for illustrative purposes. But as soon as we have a poorly resourced school embrace our methods and open their classrooms for research purposes, we will donate the whole set to them.... and then I will enquire about the possibility of more such donations 🙂

Once again our thanks go to your Rotary club for their super work in this respect.

RC Paarl, D9350

To The Project from RC Paarl

Thanks for the great initiative. All the schools were very grateful and thankful and will be having them available in the classrooms.

RC Swakopmund, D9350

To The Project from RC Swakkopmund

.......A bit more than a year ago, with the dictionaries we bought, we handed out some in person at a club lunch, to headmasters for use at their annual prize givings. Then we invited teachers to look at these books and prepare a lesson around the book, so as to have some assurance that the books will be used, and not stored in a library somewhere.

All the schools from whom we received an entry to that, got one or two sets of 32 dictionaries, as here our classes are between 30 and 40 learners. I, being a language teacher myself, thought that if you have enough books you can use them in class regularly and plan lessons around them and we informed everyone that this time around we wanted the learners who used the books in 2012, to write us an essay on anything concerning the use of the books in the classroom. This is also ensures that the dictionaries are really used correctly and the kids do benefit from our donation. We do not want to give more books to a school that has them stored away in a library, or worse, who cannot account for those they received from us in November 2011.

The deadline for those essays is 23rd March and I then want to invite the winning learners to an interview, as to make as far as it is possible, sure what we received was written by the learner self, and not dictated by a teacher.

In our club we agreed that is possibly a way to ensure that the dictionaries reach the kids and they do benefit from our donation.

RC Helderberg, D9350

To RC Helderberg - St Paul’s Primary

From the club: We have sent you a picture of happy recipients of 45 Illustrated English Dictionaries at St Paul's Primary School in Croydon. Also, just delivered 24 to Hottentots Holland High School for use in 8 English classes (as second language). Again, the teachers are thrilled.

From the School: D. Volminck, PRINSIPAAL

Graag wil ek langs hierdie weg my opregte waardering uitspreek teenoor u en die Rotary Club, wat die skenking van hierdie wooreboeke moontlik gemaak het.

Die boek het dadelik aanklank by die leerders gevind, as gevolg van die kleurryke illustrasies en die manier waarop dit uitgelê is. Dit kan net positiewe gevolge inhou.

Ek kan u net voorspoed toewens in die die diens wat u so onbaatsugtig aan die behoeftiges lewer.

Nogmaals baie dankie.

From the School:

Thanks a million for the kind donation of the very well illustrated dictionaries. This is a wonderful tool for the advancement of English in our school.

RC Auas, D9350

To RC Auas from Mary McElroy, Nyangana PCV

The picture we sent is of the young ladies who attend the Nyangana Combined School. However, we are opening a library/resource room in the Nyangana Girls Hostel and are using the dictionaries (30) for that purpose. Sister Sabina and Sister Agnes oversees the hostel which houses approximately 150 girls ages 6-18. I took the photos during one of their daily study hall sessions.

RC Auas, D9350

To RC Auas from The Shine Centre

With many thanks for the wonderful donation of the 30 Usborne illustrated dictionaries to share amongst our six Shine schools - we have put one in each grade 5,6 and 7 class where we can.

Thank you for all you do for us: we are very blessed to have you as part of our Shine team.

From a member of staff at Shine:

I must add (to the school's thank you) that it is also a thank you note from me as I know just how much everyone appreciates your very generous donation, and of course how much the children will benefit from having those dictionaries at their disposal.

Thank you so much for proposing Shine as a beneficiary. As I said before you are more than welcome to join me one Wednesday when I get back and sit through a session just to see what a wonderful programme this is. I promise you that it will be an experience that you will never forget.

RC Auas, D9350

To RC Auas from Mary McElroy, Nyangana, Peace Corps Volunteer

Here are some pictures of the girls using the dictionaries. They had a science project to label the skeleton and the dictionaries worked perfectly.

Since I arrived in Nyangana, I have been trying to help the children with their English. Now that I have been here almost a year they are starting to feel comfortable enough to ask for help.

The dictionaries I had been using are much more difficult for them to understand. While they don't always know how to use a dictionary, it is a great opportunity to help them learn something new. The pictures really grab their attention and make for a more user friendly resource.

Thanks again.