An initiative has been launched to provide dictionaries to 140 children from Trench Town, the South St Andrew community made famous by Reggae legend Bob Marley.
The drive is being led by the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights and is intended to benefit the Trench Town GSAT Learning Centre in the inner-city community.
"One of the major challenges is the performance in the Language Arts because there is a literacy issue in the community and what we have found is that once the children leave the centre they don't have the tools they need to learn on their own, even something as simple as a dictionary" acknowledged Marcus Blackstock, the founder and director of the Learning Centre.
The Centre was launched by concerned residents last summer to address a burning concern about the low level of academic performance of the children and the subsequent social outcomes of these children.
"Literacy continues to be a major challenge across the educational system, even as we acknowledge that our development will be dependent on the educational levels of our population," said Michele Salmon, membership chair of the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights,
"So as a club we were moved and excited to assist with this pressing need that will, in the final analysis, help to improve literacy and learning. Our children should not have to be prevented from accessing education because they don't have something as simple as a dictionary," added Salmon.
She said the Rotary Club will, over the next two weeks, be encouraging Rotarians, corporate entities and the general public to purchase at least one dictionary from Sangster's bookstores in downtown Kingston, Liguanea and Half-Way Tree in the Corporate Area.
The drive will culminate in a corporate event on Thursday, December 11, where patrons will be asked to contribute the dictionary as an entry fee. The time and place of the event is to be announced.
"Making a difference does not have to be arduous task. It can be as simple as providing a dictionary or any ordinary tool that will help our children to realise their potential," said Salmon who is a Crown Counsel.
She noted that people can contact the club by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or like the club's page on Facebook.