By Christopher Edwards

There is a strong emphasis on the education of the next generation in the projects being supported by the Rotary E-Club of London Centenary in Rotary year 2013/14. The E-Club’s main project is to support the work of the international organisation Junior Achievement in Zimbabwe, whilst a second project focuses on taking part in a Rotary literacy project in the Club’s own District 1130, which covers a large part of London, England.




The project is Dictionary 4 Life, under which some 350,000 illustrated dictionaries have been donated by Rotarians to primary school pupils in the areas of about 500 Rotary clubs in the UK and Ireland.  A further 70,000 dictionaries have been donated to secondary school children in 16 Commonwealth countries. The Dictionary 4 Life project is a free-standing project working in association with the Rotary Club of Battersea, Brixton and Clapham in District 1130, Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland and Usborne Publishing Ltd.

Over recent years some 20 clubs in District 1130 have handed out dictionaries to primary school children.  This includes the Rotary Club of Bush Hill Park with whose members London Centenary works closely. The two clubs co-operate over the selection of the schools whose pupils will receive dictionaries.


The dictionaries have to be ordered and paid for before 31 December each year.  The books are then delivered to the address of the Rotarian leading the project in late May.  They and their helpers then put a label with the Rotary club’s details inside each book and write in the name of the pupil to receive the book. Finally, at a suitable occasion held at the school in June or July, the books are handed out to each pupil.  The books are normally given out to year six primary school leavers. In developing countries they are usually given to 10 to 12 year olds. 

The minimum order is 32 books.  The cost of 4 cartons of 8 books to be delivered in May 2013 is £112.  Rotary E-Club of London Centenary will probably need to give out 90 dictionaries to children leaving the school it wishes to support in the summer of 2013.  The club already has enough funds to order 32 books but now needs to raise a further £224 before 24 December 2012.  Will it be able to meet this challenge?     


Giving a child an attractive illustrated dictionary can stimulate an interest in both reading and in owning books as well as in language and the meaning of words they come across in their everyday life. It is also well received by parents and teachers alike. Sadly some 5.2million adults in the UK are functionally illiterate and are unlikely to be able to help their children with their homework.    

If you would like to learn more about the Dictionaries 4 Life project, please go to their website at  Rotarians in District 1130 who want to contact someone about the project should email Past District Governor Colin Bryant at