By Isabeli Fontana
As a Rotary polio ambassador, I’m currently in India, participating in our vaccination program. I think everyone should have the best start in life, so as a mother, I made sure my two sons received the vaccine against polio.
The story of Rotary’s fight against polio is inspiring, and it always gives me hope to see the impact of Rotary’s work when I travel. For me, beauty is anything that makes you happy. The work of Rotary and health workers is certainly beautiful.
I can see the happiness in the faces of 500 schoolchildren when I visited their school in Uttar Pradesh. I also saw happiness in the eyes of the health workers who helped India become polio-free last year. I helped to vaccinate children as part of my visit. It’s so simple really — two drops to prevent a lifetime of suffering.
But I also felt sadness when I toured St. Stephen’s Hospital in New Delhi, the only place in India with a special ward to treat children suffering from the terrible effects of polio, before the disease was controlled.
No child should have to suffer from a preventable disease, and seeing the children in St. Stephen’s reminded me that the fight is not over.
It gives me great pride to know that the next Rotary Convention is in São Paulo where I live. I hope all the Rotary members visiting enjoy my wonderful country. I also hope they’ll join me in doing all they can to end polio. I want every mother to know that her children can have a beautiful, healthy life.