Tawa Rotary President Andrew Watson presents Arohata Prison Director Chris Burns with dictionaries for the site Arohata Prison has received a bumper supply of dictionaries, thanks to Tawa Rotary.

The club donated 32 Usborne Illustrated Dictionaries to the women’s prison earlier this week.

Tawa Rotary President Andrew Watson said the donation was part of the club’s many community projects as well as Rotary International’s.

“Tawa Rotary is happy to support the local community.  Arohata is one of the largest institutions in our community and the dictionaries may help improve prisoner literacy. As it happens, improving literacy is one of Rotary International’s key objectives.”

Prison Director Chris Burns said the prison was grateful for the dictionaries, and would be put to good use.

“Corrections is doing a lot to lift prisoner literacy rates through targeted programmes, volunteers and education tutors. New prisoners’ literacy levels are assessed when they arrive so we can establish what their needs are.

“The illustrated dictionaries are another useful tool in increasing the women’s literacy as well as their general knowledge.”

“For those who aren’t confident readers the illustrations will help with understanding the subject.”

More than 100 women will have the opportunity to benefit from the dictionaries.

The dictionaries will be distributed around the prison so as many prisoners as possible have access to them.

As well as the library, they will also go to the secure online computer suite; to those receiving intensive literacy and numeracy support; the programmes room where women undertake a range of meaningful activities including creative writing, as well as the self care unit where women are preparing for release.

Literacy in communities is a core area of focus for Tawa Rotary.

In 2013, the club sent 11,000 children’s books to Borneo for managed distribution into jungle communities to meet a hunger for education.

Local youngsters don’t miss out either, with an annual distribution of dictionaries to students in local primary schools, support for students to attend such activities as national science fairs and support for Life Education Trust initiatives.

The community also benefits in a range of other ways from funds raised by the club’s biggest literacy-related activity - the very popular annual book fair.