By Luke Beer, president of the Rotary Club of Kabul City, Afghanistan
As some of you know, a Rotary “flame” was launched in December in Chennai, India, to commemorate India becoming polio-free and to promote the need to go the last mile in the battle to eradicate this horrible crippling disease. The torch has made its way through several countries already, and will pass through all three polio endemic countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria – before arriving at the 2015 Rotary Convention in São Paulo 6-9 June.
I want to share with you just how inspiring it was to be part of the flame’s journey. As an Afghan club, we are so grateful for the energy it has given us as a club to refocus our efforts on polio awareness, working alongside the Rotary Club of Jalalabad.
We are not ignorant of the fact that Afghan organizations, clubs, and society have done a limited amount to raise funds for and truly engage the polio eradication effort. At first, we were confused by the utility of the torch. But I must say, it certainly has had a unifying effect. We’ve had two private organizations come forward with considerable donations as a result of the torch’s visit. It has also helped us as a young club explain to our members about Rotary’s international reach and fellowship.
Being involved with the torch has really helped me engage as a president. I look forward to reconnecting with the torch and its bearers in São Paulo!