Immunization team overcomes a mother’s reluctance to deliver life-saving polio vaccine

Julia Yank

Julia Yank

By Julia Yank, a member of the Rotary club of St. Clair County Sunset, O’Fallon, Illinois, writing from Nigeria as part of a team taking part in National Immunization Days

When my mother asked if I would go to Nigeria for a National Immunization Day to assist in the eradication efforts against polio, I had no way of imagining what  lay ahead.

Being the daughter of past District Governors Greg and Catherine Taylor Yank, in District 6510, I have Rotary in my blood. Continue reading

Meeting a polio survivor in Nigeria

Al Bonney

Al Bonney

By Al Bonney, a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan, USA, writing from Nigeria as part of a team taking part in National Immunization Days

Before this trip, I had never looked a polio survivor outside the United States in the eye, engaged him in conversation, and seen his pain, sadness, and even resignation.

As a Rotarian, I have been aware of Rotary’s efforts to eradicate polio once and for all. But this was just two humans, mano a mano, seeking the same life of dignity and respect as the other, and it was my responsibility to communicate that respect and dignity. Continue reading

Medical mission delivers hope to Nigerian polio victims


This gallery contains 8 photos.

A group of Rotarian physicians from India — most of them orthopedic surgeons — assisted by nonmedical volunteers, performed corrective surgeries on young polio patients ages 1 to 18 at two hospitals in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The project was partly … Continue reading

3,000 miles for 3 minutes: A global call to end polio

Bill Gates

By Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

This week, I am heading from Seattle to New York to speak for 180 seconds. I will be talking at a United Nations meeting about the fight to eradicate polio. I am very passionate on the subject, and I usually prefer to discuss it for hours at a time. In this case, however, I am happy to stop at three minutes. Because the reason my time is short is that so many people are committed to eradication we can barely all squeeze into the program. Continue reading

Packaged grant helps train nurses in Uganda

Dr. Francis Tusubira with children at a health camp in Namalemba.

By Dr. Francis “Tusu” Tusubira, Rotary Foundation Chair for District 9200 and a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala-North, Uganda

Rotary to me is about going into the trenches with communities and working with them. I like my feet and hands community muddy.

So I had serious reservations at first about packaged grants. It sounded like The Rotary Foundation would do all the work and it would be handed to Rotarians as a done deal. Then I received an email from the Foundation that Aga Khan University had been identified as a potential strategic partner to train nurses within their university system in Eastern Africa. They were asking if District 9200 would be interested. Continue reading

Health clinics reach thousands in Lagos, Nigeria

A child receives a checkup during one of the health camps. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate

By Suman Ramesh, president of the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos State, Nigeria

My club organizes six health camps a year. During these camps, patients line up beginning very early in the morning for free consultations. Young women bring their children, and receive iron supplements, vitamin tablets, anti-malaria medication, and sometimes de-worming medicines. We see them smiling as they return home after their health checks, carrying their supplements and medicines.

Quite a number of elderly patients also attend the camps, gaining access to blood pressure checks, random blood sugar checks, and general health advice they would not otherwise be able to afford. Continue reading

Providing sanitation, artificial limbs in Lagos

Children wait to use toilets at a primary school in Lagos, Nigeria.

By Suman Ramesh,  president of the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos State, Nigeria

At the Shyllon primary school in Lagos, students lacked proper toilet facilities, using the grounds of the school for their sanitation needs. The smell was often unbearable, and the girls found it embarrassing to use an open toilet. Water is scarce, making the environment very unhealthy and disease-prone.

Learning of this situation, my Rotary club undertook a project to provide 10 toilets and a water tank to provide adequate water during the day. Continue reading

My dream of a polio-free Nigeria

Nigerian soccer star Nwankwo Kanu

By Nwankwo Kanu, Nigerian soccer forward, and participant in Rotary’s “This Close” campaign

As a proud Nigerian footballer, I have scored many goals for my country. But there’s one goal I still need to score — I want to help Nigeria kick polio out forever.

Growing up in Owerri, I practiced every day from sunrise to sunset in the hope of one day playing for my country. Through years of hard work and dedication, I have been able to fulfill my dream. But some of our children will never have the same opportunities I did — children who fall victim to polio, a devastating disease that continues to threaten our communities. Many polio victims will never walk again, let alone compete on the football field. Continue reading

Service projects, motorcycles, and Rotary

Karena Beirman

Karena Bierman races vintage motorcycles for a hobby.

By Karena Bierman, a member of the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse, Illinois, USA, and manager of Gift Planning for The Rotary Foundation.

In 2005, a year after I started working at the Rotary Foundation, I worked on a tsunami relief project with a very active Rotarian – Chuck Remen, from the Rotary Club of Evanston Lighthouse.

He convinced me that I ought to be a Rotarian. (Actually, it didn’t take much convincing, because I liked the organization.) Since, I’ve been on the club’s board of directors every year. It’s not something I do because of my job. It’s something I do because my club is awesome. Continue reading