By Douglas W. Vincent, Rotary Club of Woodstock-Oxford, Ontario, Canada
In January, the Rotary Club of Mississauga Meadowvale hosted a Rotary Day event exploring what we as Rotary members can do to improve the health of mothers and their children, through our club projects and working with the United Nations. Rotary has had a long-standing relationship with the UN dating all the way back to its formation, and improving maternal health and reducing child mortality are two of the UN Millennium Development Goals.
We invited a special guest, Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to address the topic. Nine Rotary clubs in Mississauga and members from the GTA and Oakville/Burlington area learned more about the challenges many parents and young children face in our troubled world. It was also an opportunity for members to invite friends and colleagues to learn more about what Rotary is doing through our projects and our global network on this issue.
Harper noted, “we spend thousands of dollars to save a child’s life here in Canada but why then, do we allow children to die in other countries that could be saved by a few cents. Thanks to Rotary for doing a wonderful job and the success of your polio eradication campaign. For just a few cents, you change the life of a child.”
Harper went on to comment on the difficulty of making a difference in countries where the cultural practices do not respect women. “In many countries females have few rights and girls don’t even count. Often girls do not go to school and are not tracked in any way to generate statistics.”
Harper encouraged the youth and Rotaractors at the event to take a cue from Rotary. “Youth are our future, both in Canada and the entire world. You are in a room full of role models, so learn from them. Learn from Rotary and other NGOs how to volunteer and help make a difference for a better world.”
- Learn about hosting a Rotary Day
- Read about Rotary Day at the United Nations
- Read more about Rotary’s role in the formation of the United Nations