Joe Berninger, member of Ohio Pathways Rotary Club, spoke to us about his club and their work with the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP).
Joe, a Cincinnati resident, explained that he belongs to an e-club in District 6600. They are a diverse membership of about 30 with active Rotarians in many different countries. The club is a good fit for people who have to travel and have challenging schedules. Ohio Pathways Rotary was working with Zoom way before the pandemic.
The GLP is one of the largest grassroots, multi-club, multi-district international projects in Rotary. The effort includes 600 clubs in 80 districts and eight countries. In 2017, then-Rotary International President Ian Risley described GLP as the gold standard of Rotary projects for sustainability and impact.
The goal of the project is to improve education for under-served students. The need is great as Guatemala has the lowest literacy rate in Central America. Children are often pulled out of school for economic reasons and do not return. Guatemala is also the largest source of immigrants at the southern border of the United States.
The project provides reading instruction, text books, computer labs and scholarships. Some 750 scholarships worth $960 each have been distributed. When the project started in 1997, only one out of three Guatemalans could read. Presently, two out of three students can read. Local Rotarians assist with GLP by teaching job skills and other aspects of the program. Over 225,000 students have been served by GLP.