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Lions President Launches Personal Literacy Campaign

Media Release 27th August 2012

Lions President Launches Personal Literacy Campaign in Queenstown

Wayne Madden, from Indiana USA and installed as the Lions International President two-months ago, will use the Queenstown Convention to launch his own personal campaign, the Reading Action Program (RAP), to improve literacy in this region of the world.

Many Kiwis take their ability to read and write for granted but New Zealand needs to step up its game in tackling illiteracy, according to a report by the World Literacy Foundation released earlier this year.

Next Saturday (September 8) is World Literacy Day and Mr Madden said he will ask the New Zealand Lions to talk to New Zealand literacy advocates and agencies to discuss ways to integrate activities for the remainder of the year.

The report, The Economic and Social Cost of Illiteracy, estimated that the social and economic impact of illiteracy to New Zealand is NZ$3 billion a year.

Bronwyn Yates, Chief Executive Officer of Literacy Aotearoa, who spoke on the subject earlier this year, said that there is no doubt that adult illiteracy is a significant cost for the local economy.

She believes more needs to be done.

"If we want to tackle this $3 billion impact, we need to be creating strategies to address that there are one million adults with literacy difficulties in this country," she said.

Andrew Kay, co-author and chief executive of the World Literacy Foundation said New Zealand needed to make inroads into the level of illiteracy in this country.

"Often, the end result of low literacy levels is trapping people in a cycle of poverty, poor health, limited employment opportunities, reduced income potential and low productivity in businesses.

"We need to treat illiteracy as a disease that we are aiming to eradicate. We need to understand that early intervention can avert a lifetime of hardship, poverty and pain for a child, young person or adult who is struggling to read or write," said Mr Kay.

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ABOUT QUEENSTOWN LIONS CONVENTION

Queenstown will play host to around 250 Lions Clubs International Members from all around the world from Friday 31 August to Sunday 2 September 2012.

The International President of Lions Clubs International, Wayne Madden from Indiana, USA, will be the main guest and speaker at the ANZI-Pacific Lions Clubs Forum to be held at the Millennium Hotel.

Also present will be the Immediate Past International President and Chairman of Lions Clubs International Foundation Dr. Wing-Kun Tam of Hong Kong and the First International Vice President Barry Palmer from Australia. The current International Director for the region, Sheryl Jensen of Rotorua, will also play a prominent role in the Forum

The forum will be attended by Lions from around Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Islands of the South Pacific. They will attend various seminars and workshops as well as hear some key note speakers including Reg Garters, International President Madden and local celebrities James Coddington and Jamie Roy.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club association with a total membership of 1.35 million members in 206 countries and the ANZI-Pacific region has a membership of 44,000 members.

A highlight of the event will be a charter cruise aboard the Earnslaw on Saturday evening.

“All the registrants are really looking forward to visiting Queenstown and to enjoying some of the stunning scenery” said the forum organiser Mr Tony Hanning. “It will be a great chance to examine our service initiative in our communities and around the world” he added.

A Golf tournament will be held on the Friday immediately prior to the official opening on Friday evening and Saturday evening will be free for the visitors to sample some of Queenstown’s fine hospitality.

With almost 100 Australian Lions and almost 20 from Indonesia there will be a real mix of cultures. Other guests will be attending from India, Japan and Thailand.

The Forum will conclude early Sunday afternoon on September 2nd with many of the participants not leaving until Monday or later.

A large number of local Queenstown Lions will be involved as volunteers and will be assisting with transport, logistics, office assistance and other duties. “We are very grateful to the Local Lions for all their willing help” said the Forum Vice Chairman Jack Allan. “It would not have happened without their goodwill and assistance.”

ENDS.

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