It Began With Rotary! Now Look!

This literacy effort began with a Rotary Matching Grant between RD6900 and RD9350. The lead Rotary clubs were RC Peachtree City (USA) and RC Sea Point (South Africa).  Now look! SounsAfrica has grown legs of its own!!

The following is an email with a powerful attachment from Knysna Education Trust in South Africa. KET is the source for Souns in South Africa for all activities outside of Rotary projects. They are really making a difference for literacy.

I thought you may be interested in the survey that I collated in June this year.  We are very pleased with the results that it shows.  I need to do another one for DG Murray Trust mid-September.  It is a lot of work and effort by many stakeholders to come out with this summary, but it tells us what we want to know.

The results in the 5 primary schools in the Knysna townships, where our preschool learners move on to, are also much better this year, which is the first year that Grade 1 results are able to be measured since starting the programme in the preschools.  The school management team of the Western Cape Education Department have told me that those 5 schools are much better this year.

Lesley S.   / Knysna Education Trust

The Writing On The Wall

So THAT is how much fun a Souns kid can have? Meet Prince, and his marvelous mother Nikolai. Prince has had Souns since his mother and I met on TWITTER  and she ordered Souns materials (January 2011). The journey has been furiously fast moving and engaging. Within two weeks of  Nikolai seeing the impact Souns had on her young child, she was compelled to change every child’s life in Puerto Rico. She  spoke to everyone, trying to build a resource for getting Souns into the hands of the children in her community. Finally, a Rotarian from Rotary District 7000 heard of the effort and suddenly, a Matching Grant was in the making.

Where are we now with this vibrant mother and one little boy who loved his Souns? Mix such passion and commitment with Rotary and the world really does change. Currently, the Head Start program of San Juan Municipality is the recipient of a grant from The Rotary Foundation, a Matching Grant sought by Rotary Districts 6990 and 7000. One mom and the experiences of one little boy on a mission now impact 4000 children in Head Start. The ultimate goal is to change the world for children in all of Puerto Rico. That mission is not to be denied, at least not for Nikolai .

And what about the star of this story, our little Prince? Prince is now building words with Souns letters, writing words with his hands, and sounding out phonetic words in two languages. He is not even old enough to be in kindergarten. What do you think his world will be like as he enters school? He loves learning. He is curious and inspired. Family matters to children. Souns has powered a relationship with a family and their community and has spawned a future for 4001 children. Nikolai is taking that even a step further – surprise! She has written, published, and is traveling and speaking about the power of family. Ring the Alarm: The Hope of Black and Brown communities: A Zero to Five Parenting Guide for Low Income Black and Latino Caregivers.   Nikolai Pizarro (Author)

It started with a TWEET between @counterpane and @Be_Pure! It is now a major literacy project in Puerto Rico thanks to The Rotary Foundation and the support of Rotary Districts 6990 and 7000 (inspired by the dream of one very passionate mother and her child). Today’s communication tools combined with service-above-self organizations such as Rotary build amazing opportunities, linking minds, hearts, and purpose.

SounsPuertoRico / Museo del Niño

Rotary District 7000 is engaging children in Head Start classrooms and at the Museo del Niño in activities that build literacy naturally. Letter-sound associations are so easy for a child to learn if the experience is fun and hands-on. In Head Start and at the Museo, Rotarians volunteer their time and talents, and provide the Souns materials to ensure the children of San Juan have fundamental skills in place when they are developmentally ready to write and read. Below is the beautiful environment at the Museo del Niño.