Thank you Rotary, Goodbye Polio!


Her Smile welcomed us to her community.
In this piece, I shall be reflecting with you on the above topic, because it means so much to me. It would interest you to know that I wrote this piece on June 23, 2014, but it still finds much relevance in our world today, when we see the much going on in our communities.

Many a times, we feel that it is only when we have money that we can make people happy; well it is not always true as we have already established that cash is just one aspect of money. The world suffers today because we continue to deny other people the chance to smile by withholding from them our love and our care. Love not expressed is not love at all.

For the past 8 years, I have been a proud member the largest network of volunteers – The Rotary Family, whose business is mankind. From education to environment, community development to peace & conflict resolution to water and health, we continue to affect positively the lives of billions around the world, yet we all less than 2 million.

As a Rotaractor, [The Rotaract Club is a youth program of Rotary International], I have enjoyed these 8 years, more especially the last 12 months [July 2013 - 2014] as I did serve as President of my club, The Rotaract Club of Amuwo Main. As I prepare to hand over the reins of leadership come 30th June [the presidency is a one year term. No 2nd terms no matter how good you are; others must be given opportunity to also make impact], I look back on the things we did and I am compelled to share this remarkable personal experience with you. It is with regards to Rotary’s campaign against Polio.

The fight against polio is almost won; the sight and feeling of victory continue to boost more efforts to ensure its total eradication.  Since 1986 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched, Rotary has expended over 10 Billion Dollars, immunizing more than 2.5 Billion children and saving them from potential dangers.  Despite concerted efforts by Rotary, governments and other NGOs, Polio still exists in 3 countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

In Nigeria, the campaign against Polio is top priority and “Nigeria has no business being among countries that are yet to eradicate polio”, so says Dr. Abdulraham Tunji Funsho, Chair, Nigeria National Polio Plus Committee. About 2 cases reported in Nigeria this year and this can be attributed to Rotary’s commitment particularly by District 9110, Nigeria and indeed the Rotary Club of Amuwo in carrying out mop up immunization campaigns in the riverine areas of Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State.

It was in one monitoring exercise together with Immunization officials from the LGA, in Irewe and Oko Babatope communities that I had the opportunity to appreciate the level of work done by Rotary in the fight against Polio. The team also included members of my club.  The journey to these communities took almost forty five minutes boat ride and by the time we got there, we had villagers anxiously waiting to get their children immunized. [the first experience had been in October of 2012 during the West African Project Fair, held in Lagos Nigeria, when Rotarians from USA, Israel, and other African countries embarked on a hands on project,. The Rotaract Club of Amuwo Main and the Interact Club of Dr. Soyemi both sponsored by RC Amuwo were the only Youth Service members present; we had the rare privilege of participating in an international project with RI Director Gideon Peiper]

The community clinic was filled with willing mothers and their children, singing and dancing in their local Yoruba dialect, praising the visitors and appreciating them for their kind gestures. It was a most defining moment for me and thus shaped my understanding of what Rotary and Rotaract really stands for. Giving the vaccines to over a hundred children and knowing that we had hope to a generation of kids brought a certain fulfillment in me and further made realize that Rotary is all about leaving smiles in communities because we can.

Today, I charge you, reach out, lend a hand, build bridges, connect communities, embrace people, make dreams real, share love, and leave similes and as you do so may the odds always be in your favour.
#Rotary #Rotaract #Learn #Serve #Socialize #Impact 

Nigeria is on the verge of being certified a Polio free country in 2017. 
Speaker, Compere, Volunteer.
Think it! Believe it! Work at it! Achieve it!

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