Our speaker on 09 August 2017 was Francis Uwaechi of the Rotary Club of London Centenary. On this occasion, President Mollie had lost her voice so Past President Ritu answered the call and ran the meeting on her behalf. After the usual announcements, the reminder of the Pinner Village Show and finding volunteers to attend the Youth Makes Music Information evening, it was time for our speaker.
After a career in education, Francis wanted to talk about an exciting District-wide project in Sri Lanka connected with education. For just £20, using materials purchased through a Rotary Club in Sri Lanka, we can equip a primary school class with the basic materials they will need for an academic year. That is a small price to pay for the difference that education can achieve, not just in those educated for a year, but for the difference that can occur in the rest of their lives and for the lives of their children and grandchildren. So often, education can be the means of climbing out of poverty not just for the generation receiving the education, but for the subsequent generations as well. Francis supported his case with statistics from Nigeria where the reduction in child mortality of the under-5s has been calculated at 46% for those girls completing secondary education.
But getting children into school is not enough. Francis drew an interesting comparison, from his own experience, of the difference between learning and education. There are plenty of students who can recite knowledge, but fewer who can apply that knowledge to the problems that need to be solved.
Francis literally sang for his supper at the end of his talk! His theme and his experience struck a chord with many Club members, and the Club donated a cheque as a token of our support for his work with the District Classroom Box Project.