Today, February 23rd, is the birthday of one of the world’s most far-reaching and powerful organizations. From more than 33,000 clubs, from two hundred geographical areas and countries in five continents, the 1.3 million members wish Rotary International a Happy Birthday.
Making a difference in the world for 107 years, Rotary’s 1985 promise to the children of the world to eradicate polio is the most significant and noteworthy mission in its history. And we are ‘this close’ to achieving the goal. With over $1 billion donated thus far by Rotarians and Rotary Clubs and with only three countries left endemic we must continue our vigilance to make sure that polio-free countries remain so and that those endemic continue their work to finally wipe out this disease.
To celebrate the birthday today many prominent buildings around the world will be illuminated with Rotary’s pledge to END POLIO NOW!
Take a look at the You Tube video and Thank Rotary for all it’s done in 107 years.
In the media where only strife and conflict seem to get any attention, I reach out to tell you the stories of real people and organizations doing the most incredible job of making the world a better place.
Today, I reach out, once again, to my friends and colleagues in the Rotary World as we celebrate an historic moment in the global struggle to eradicate polio as India passed one year without a single case of polio. For someone who remembers the fear here in the United States back in the ’50’ before Salk and Sabin, there is a song in my heart and I’m filled with joy that the children and parents in this populous country can think of life after polio.
This milestone is the work of millions health workers, community leaders, politician and government leaders and Rotarians, UNICEF, WHO and CDC staff who lead National Immunization Days to distribute vaccine, closely monitor in villages and towns, and the parents who tirelessly work to be sure ALL the children receive oral vaccine. But we can’t let down our guard. Pakistan and Afghanistan are still endemic and India is susceptible for reinfection unless we support their efforts to vaccinate every child. Anywhere there is still polio, it’s a threat to us all.
If you would like to send the people of India a message of thanks and congratulations click here. Anyone can send a message.
Stand tall, India! This is a game changer in polio eradication. If you can do it, we can
Last June when I first wrote about Jhoole, the eco-conscious fashion organization, founded by the social entrepreneur, Hannah Warren, I was fascinated by the concept of building an organization beneficial to women living below the poverty line in India. The idea that the power of social enterprise could do battle with injustice, alleviate poverty and pay good living wages was really a noble purpose.
As I’ve followed Hannah and Jhoole these last months it’s been incredible to see where social enterprise and those people with the purpose of sustainability and ethical behavior leads: a charity partnership with the NGO, Chetanya Sewa , and community partners MATA TRADERS, Womanspace, Rock Valley College and India’s leading fiber-to-garment manufacturer, Pratibha Syntex, grants from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International are but some of the wonderful things that are happening at Jhoole.
And it’s important to keep in mind that this non-profit puts 80% of the profits back into Jhoole so they can grow and provide employment for more women and 20% of the operating profit is donated to social initiatives in the community through their partnership with Chetyanya Sewa.
Plans for one of their largest ventures, a production and training center in Madhya Pradesh, designed pro bono by Mike Olson, are underway with the goal of building next year. This facility will provide training and work for almost 500 women as well as school for their children.
Hannah’s original reason for traveling to Madhya Predesh was to photograph the women weavers. When she got there she was so overcome by the beauty of the fabrics and poverty she saw her photographs became a photo journal. Click here to view.