2008 Journey and Matching Grant Projects with India
A life-changing, amazing journey, that continues...the slideshows & logs
Feb. 2008, District Governor Marlene Brown & husband Earl Lewis traveled to India at their own expense to: take part in the NIDS Polio drops; the inauguration of 'Gurukulum' (a Matching Grant Project between our districts); visit Club Projects; present at Club meetings & their District Conference. View pictures & slideshows below. Read journal log. View Blog. View desks journey.
View slideshow of Coimbatore area & Rotary sponsored school
View slideshow of Meeting Dr. Bala & Coimbatore Rotary Club Charter
WATER: India faces a turbulent water future. Unless water management practices are changed soon, India will face a severe water crisis within the next two decades and will have neither the cash to build new infrastructure nor the water needed by its growing economy and rising population. India’s past investments in large water infrastructure have yielded spectacular results with enormous gains in food security and in the reduction of poverty.
However, much of this infrastructure is now crumbling. Shortfalls in financing have led to an enormous backlog of maintenance. Faced with poor water supply services, farmers and urban dwellers alike have resorted to helping themselves by pumping out groundwater through tubewells. Today, 70 percent of India’s irrigation needs and 80 percent of its domestic water supplies come from groundwater. Although this practice has been remarkably successful in helping people to cope in the past, it has led to rapidly declining water tables and critically depleted aquifers, and is no longer sustainable.
Sewage and waste water from rapidly growing cities and effluents from industries have turned many rivers, including major ones, into fetid sewers. Massive investments are needed in sewers and wastewater treatment plants to protect people’s health and improve the environment. Climate change projections show that India’s water problems are only likely to worsen. With more rain expected to fall in fewer days and the rapid melting of glaciers in the western Himalayas, India will need to gear up to tackle the increasing incidence of both droughts and floods.
LITERACY: The problem of illiteracy in the Indian context cannot be over emphasised. Basic literacy, as defined by the United Nations, is the ability to read 40 words per minute, write 20 words per minute, and do 2-digit arithmetic. In India, where one of the oldest civilizations flourished, only 52% of the population is literate (65.5% of males, 39% of females). (These figures are from the 1991 census). The literacy rate among rural women is 10%. Over half of the world's illiterates may be in India as we enter the 21st century. Every third working child in the world is in India.
For 3 million children in India, the street is their home. Various barriers to child and adult literacy exist in India, most prominent are the issues of gender and poverty. However, now as the population nears the 1 billion mark and with issues of poverty and social inequities becoming larger, it is time to face the challenges. Literacy is the key to development, health care, employment and last but not the least, it is the key to population control.
Through Rotary projects, teachers and students pair up with Rotarians to educate the community. The importance of literacy is the need for the community to be able to read. As President Wilf Wilkinson said " Literacy empowers people. It is the foundation for virtually all forms of education and an essential component of poverty reduction, social inclusion, and economic development. Despite the importance of literacy, there are more than 800 million people unable to read or write in the world today, and 64 percent are women and girls".