By Tetsuzo Fukuda, Rotary Club of Nagoya-Wago and polio plus committee chair for District 2760 (Japan)
We held our sixth annual World Food and Fureai Festival 27-28 October in a park in downtown Nagoya (fureai is a Japanese word meaning interaction). Under a beautiful autumn sky, more than 70,000 people gathered for an outdoor food festival featuring foods from around the world, presentations about Rotary’s humanitarian work, and entertainment. We broke our record for ticket sales and onsite donations.
One of the great things about this event is that all the Rotary family in our district participates and collaborates to make it successful, which draws us all closer by the end of the event. We had about 50 “This Close” photo displays scattered around the park to help us enhance Rotary’s image in our community.
Judy Ongg, actress, singer, author and Rotary celebrity ambassador for polio eradication, played a significant role this year. She not only made an inspiring speech on stage, but also joined us at our End Polio Now booth encouraging the public to make a contribution to eradicate polio. She also attended our charity dinner, which attracted more than 200 Rotarians, including members from Pakistan, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
Every year, we have been donating the proceeds to help eradicate polio and for humanitarian aid for children in Asian countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines. This year, we are dividing the proceeds between the PolioPlus Fund and “Health and Education Units” in Pakistan. These units are equipped with 1,500 books, an LED screen, White Board, tablets equipped with Skype, and refrigerated units to store polio vaccine.
Our district is also grateful to past governor Faiz Kidwai from District 3271 Pakistan for his presentation about the work to eradicate polio in Pakistan during the charity dinner. All of us are deeply impressed with knowing how hard and determined the Rotarians in Pakistan are working to eradicate polio. Yes, we are “This Close.”