A boy in the displaced persons camp waves at the visiting team.
By Carol Pandak, Director of PolioPlus for Rotary International
As we drove away from the Muna camp for Internally Displaced Persons on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the capital city of restive Borno State in Nigeria, a young boy dressed in brown tunic and pants gave us a friendly, somewhat surprised wave.
At 60,000 inhabitants, the camp had doubled in size since the same time last year as conflict continues to push people from their homes. My visit to the camp was the final stop on a trip to Nigeria with the Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee, Mike McGovern, on the occasion of the country having not reported a case of polio for a year. But while we marked the date on the calendar, the visit was not celebratory. Continue reading
By Marty Peak Helman, District 7780 Foundation Chair
Children in a refugee camp in eastern Nigeria.
The American University of Nigeria (AUN) was co-founded by Rotarian Felix Obadan in 2000, and 12 years later, when Felix was governor of Rotary’s District 9125, which covers a large portion of Nigeria, he chartered the Rotary Club of Yola-AUN on campus. Their strong influence on campus makes it not surprising that many University professors and senior staff are Rotary members, and that the University prides itself on its work toward peace, entrepreneurship, and economic development as well as its strong academics.
The University’s mission is to graduate students prepared to take on the challenges in Nigeria and throughout West Africa – challenges of climate change, development, and peace building. And peace is not an abstract concept at the university. After all, it is located in Yola, the capital of Adamawa State, in the region where Boko Haram is most powerful. In fact, those few dozen Chibok schoolgirls who escaped from being kidnapped by Boko Haram are now safely living at the University, where they are receiving social services and education. Continue reading
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, center, immunizes a child against polio in his hometown of Daura.
By Rotary Voices staff
In September, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari immunized children against polio in his hometown, Daura in Katsina State. In his first months as Nigeria’s leader, Buhari has shown strong support for polio eradication efforts. On 24 July, the country celebrated one year since its last case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus. To mark the milestone, President Buhari publicly immunized his granddaughter against the disease.
Later this month, the World Health Organization could remove Nigeria from the list of polio-endemic countries, leaving only Pakistan and Afghanistan on the list.
Children read books they received through Gyan Jyot, a program of the Rotary Club of Baroda Sayajinagari.
By Rotary Voices staff
Rotary members in Gujarat, India, have launched a program to put books into the hands of children from low income families who cannot afford them, or whose schools lack large library collections.
Gyan Jyot is a program of the Rotary Club of Baroda Sayajinagari. For as little as $3,000, the club purchases and circulates a variety of reading material to students, who get to pick a book of their choice a week to read at no cost. Continue reading
Members of the Rotary Club of Onigbongbo at the Red Cross Orphanage. Photo courtesy of Yomi Lawson
Members of the Rotary Club of Onigbongbo, Lagos State, Nigeria, decided to celebrate 110 years of Rotary by donating supplies to a Red Cross orphanage that provides a home for 200 abandoned or vulnerable children. The club delivered 10 packs of diapers, 150 liters of diesel fuel, two cartons of infant formula, ten crates of eggs, two cartons of biscuits, five cartons of noodles, three cartons of fruit drink, and detergent. Members stayed to play with the children after dropping off the goods.
By Suman Ramesh, a member of the Rotary Club of Lago-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos, Nigeria
For several years, our club has had the privilege of being part of an eye camp that provides free surgeries to patients with limited access to care in Nigeria. There is nothing quite like witnessing the joy on the face of a patient who arrives with limited vision, and leaves with the ability to see.
We team up with the medical staff from the Eye Institute in Navsari, India, to sponsor the camp, treating nearly a thousand patients in the Nigerian states of Lagos and Ogun spread over 10 days. Patients are screened and pre-surgery tests conducted for four to five weeks prior to the camp, drawing crowds of needy people, many of them suffering cataracts and similar eye conditions. It is very common for our club to receive calls from cataract patients inquiring about the dates of our camp. Continue reading
Ayuba Burki Gufwan, a polio survivor and member of Rotary, founded Beautiful Gate, an organization that makes wheelchairs for Nigerian polio survivors. Here Gufwan speaks about his mission and about advocating for polio immunization.
Read Gufwan’s blog post about Beautiful Gate.
Ken Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Burlington, Kansas, USA, during the immunization trip. Photo courtesy 2012 NID Team
By Al Bonney, 2014-15 Governor of District 6290 (part of Ontario, Canada; part of Michigan, USA), and a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan
The sun was just peaking pink and yellow over the roof tops of the soon-to-be-busy street when our team of 15 Rotary members sleepily descended from the bus on the first day of the three-day National Immunization Day trip. Continue reading
Bisan Michael (right) during the ceremony in his honor.
By Edoja Sowho, Rotary Club of Effurun GRA, Delta State, Nigeria
The airport road junction in Effurun-Warri, Delta State, Nigeria, is a very busy and strategic location in the oil-rich city of Warri. The government of Delta State constructed a roundabout to ease traffic congestion, but it’s had little effect.
At the center of this hotspot, you’ll find Bisan Michael, a rather remarkable young man who volunteers his time and talent to keep traffic moving, rain or shine. He has been doing this work, with no reward for himself, for years. Continue reading
Ann Lee Hussey immunizing a child against polio in Chad.
By Ann Lee Hussey, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA.
As a 17-month-old toddler, I contracted polio. Burning up with fever, I was paralyzed from the waist down. It was July 1955, only three months after Jonas Salk’s vaccine was released to the public. I was lucky to regain the use of most but not all of my leg muscles. Today, after multiple surgeries, braces, and physical therapy, I am able to walk with limitations. Continue reading