1 April 2013 — International Mother Language Day Project


This is our April 1 program…but still, no joke.

As President, even I’m sick of hearing me sometimes. But this week’s program is going to send you back to fifth or sixth grade, as you watch a sample presentation of our Club’s International Mother Language Day project.  I gave that sample presentation, so you’ll have to bear with me, please…

After presenting the project at multiple schools in the past couple of weeks–International Mother Langauge Day is established by UNESCO as February 21, but our Club uses the day itself as an inspiration, not a requirement–we’ve learned that many more of us could go to schools and have fun presenting the project to children. The kids love it, the grown-ups love it, a good time is had by all.

Several of us in the E-Club were in a different Club beforehand, the Club where this project was hatched and nurtured. The project landed in THE ROTARIAN magazine in September of 2009, in the World Roundup section.

So this week we will show you the video of a mock presentation, at one of our Club meetings. Originally intended as an internal training video for our Club, we can’t think of a good reason not to post it here. Any Club in the world–hear that, visiting Rotarians?–can take on this project and have fun with it. We are happy to share.

The entire current booklet is also linked below, so you can see what we give to the children (and teachers). Enjoy–and get excited about making this presentation to enthusiastic kids next year!









It is all very simple. We teach children how to make friends all over the world. They learn how to say HELLO, PLEASE, THANK YOU, PEACE, and LOVE in different languages. They hear a little bit about Rotary Clubs, in terms they understand well (kids like to help people, too), and they have a blast in the 10-15 minutes we spend with them.

If the embedded video is not visible, please click here to view it on YouTube.

Here is a bit more information:

This is the booklet we give to the students.

This is the item about our project, from the September 2009 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

This is a list of languages recognized by Rotary International…we have a long way to go to add to our booklet.

Hvala! (Extra credit for identifying that word.)


8 responses to 1 April 2013 — International Mother Language Day Project

  1. This is great! I remember reading about this a few years ago…probably in The Rotarian. Thank you for sharing your project and the booklet. I downloaded it and hope to encourage my Club to do this project, as well.

    By the way, I’d love to add Greek to your booklet. My husband was born in Greece and it’s my adopted country:

    Hello: geiá sou Pronunciation: Ya-sou

    Please: parakaló̱ Pronunciation: Para-kaló̱

    Thank you: ef̱charistó̱ Pronunciation: Ef-haristó̱

    Peace: eirí̱ni̱ Pronunciation: Ear-in-ee

    Love: αγάπη Pronunciation: A-gahp-ee

    Thanks for an enlightening meeting!


  2. I like the UNESCO logo!

    I’ve been a part of the Language project from the start, and it has been a lot of fun! We’ve visited many classrooms in the past few years, and kids are always eager to learn to say hello in different languages (and a chance to do something other than school work.) Their eyes actually sparkle :)

    I even had a chance to use a a couple of Russian words I learned from the booklet on subway in Yokohama to say hi to a couple of visitors from outside of Moscow.

    Thank you, Linda, for your contribution in Greek. I will look for Greek tourists in Tokyo next time.

  3. Wow! I can’t get over the list of languages and how many I’ve never heard of. What a big, big world we live in. What an amazing way to make the world just a little smaller.

    I remember seeing the item in Rotarian Magazine and thinking how awesome it was!

    I, too, like the UNESCO logo!

  4. Very nice booklet to give to the children. We’e probably fostering some future Rotarians in the schools as well.

  5. The program is a lot of fun and the kids get into it. Mel does this thing with his hands and the kids all follow. One of them knocked a bottle off his desk during Mel’s presentation, duplicating Mel’s routine. Good times for all. Schedules are sometimes tight but if any fellows want to join in, its a great program. I’ve been at two and will go again. That’s sustainability.

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