President's Message September 2021
September 2021 
Dear Fellow Rotarians, and friends of Rotary.
September is the month of Basic Education and Literacy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected educational systems worldwide, leading to the near-total closures of schools, early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, universities and colleges.
Most governments decided to temporarily close educational institutions in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As of 12 January 2021, approximately 825 million learners are currently affected due to school closures in response to the pandemic. According to UNICEF monitoring, 23 countries are currently implementing nationwide closures and 40 are implementing local closures, impacting about 47 percent of the world's student population. 112 countries' schools are currently open.
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) as well as school closures impact not only students, teachers, and families, but have far-reaching economic and societal consequences. School closures in response to the pandemic have shed light on various social and economic issues, including student debt digital learning,  food insecurity, and homelessness, as well as access to childcare, health care, housing, internet, and disability services. The impact was more severe for disadvantaged children and their families, causing interrupted learning, compromised nutrition, childcare problems, and consequent economic cost to families who could not work.
In response to school closures, UNESCO recommended the use of distance learning programs and open educational applications and platforms that schools and teachers can use to reach learners remotely and limit the disruption of education.  (Source Wikipedia)
Many of the above factors have certainly been apparent here in Thailand.
Over the last 18 months the Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin (RCRHH) has tried to maintain the momentum of our flagship projects the Rotary Education Center, Technology Enhanced Learning for Knowledge classroom (TELK) by purchasing the remaining 13 computers to complete phase four of the project.
The Thai Voices project has now become a national project involving 19 Panyanukul schools and the RCRHH has invested 200,000 Thai Bhat to build a website to support this project.
However, in both cases progress has been delayed because of the school closures.
Last month we purchased 2 laptop computers for Mercy House Foundation to enable the children to have access to more suitable learning environment instead of using mobile phone technology, a further two computers were supplied by other doners leaving one more to meet the request of 5 laptop computers.
Although learning is the major aspect of school life, another facet is maintaining health and fitness, developing team building by playing competitive sports. To support this the RCRHH recently purchased 50 football shirts for the 3 teams at the Nong Hoi and Wang Phong Schools. This follows an earlier purchase of 30 footballs in February this year.
RCRHH will continue to assess the needs of local schools and help provide basic education and literacy where needed.  However, all these worthy projects will not be possible to maintain unless we succeed with our main fundraising project, The Annual Charity Golf Classic Tournament.
However, due to the current lockdown it may not be possible to run the tournament this year and may have to postpone until early 2022, a decision will be made on September the 13th.
The current situation has highlighted the need to look at alternative ways to raise funds to support our projects, however I am confident that the fund-raising committee will continually work hard to raise money to ensure all these projects and future ones are possible.
We are a big club, and I personally welcome comments, suggestions from all our members on how we can maintain the momentum of our club in supporting Basic Education and Literacy.
Yours in Rotary
Phil Lawrence
President Rotary Club of Royal Hua Hin