Africa has been certified free of Polio after three years without any reported infections!
In 1978, 350,000 children were infected with this appalling paralyzing disease in the US alone. Today this year there are only 17 reported cases world wide. The problem is that we must eradicate every single case of the disease otherwise in a few years it could sweep the world again.
This is going to cost £50million a year until the world is Polio free!
I think we now know something of pandemics!
Internationally our 1.2, million Rotary members have contributed to many schemes the largest of which was initiated by a Rotary club in the north of England in 1979.
This was to eradicate polio from the world. Since then Rotary international has raised $2.2 billion dollars and assisted with inoculating 2.5 Billion Children in most countries in the world. That is almost the entire worlds population of children!
Rotary did not do this by themselves of course, The Bill and Amanda Gates Foundation has been matching us $2 for $1 and most countries have contributed billions also plus countless millions of hours worked by volunteers. The hardest part is reaching remote villages involving traversing jungle and deserts, crossing mountains and coping with drought, disaster and wars to do this.
We Rotarians in the UK and around the world contribute to many other schemes such as shelterbox which Rotary started but is now an independent Charity. It provides tents and equipment in a box for families of up to eight people. These are shipped rapidly around the world in case of emergency and disaster.
We assist with water projects and sanitation, schooling and health wherever we can.
Down to earth however and to present days our club also raises funds and helps locally in any way it can. This year we have raised over £15,000 for various causes in and around the town. Not only that but we help physically with trips out for disabled children, we have a tea party for about 100 seniors from the town and surrounding area.
We run an annual kit car race for 20 or so school teams. The children build their own electric cars and race them. It is a great hands on team building experience for our young people. We help individual teenagers with their dream, often financing time in a foreign country assisting with school or water projects.
We paid for a special chair for a desperately ill poor little girl who needed a very special kind of seat as she could not sit down.
The main problem for Rotary in the UK now is our age demographic, most of us are over 70 and we desperately need younger people, (maybe those newly retired) to join us. Men and women, any age, any background will be very welcome. If you would like a chat do call me.
Don’t worry, it is not all work, we have plenty of social events and enjoy a good laugh!