From a decision of 6 ladies from our area to attend a National Immunisation Day in Moradabad India in February 2013 to changing the lives of 50,000 slum dwellers in 60 villages…….. a great example of the power of Rotary.
. . . Moradabad, a city 163 kilometres east of Delhi with a population of 1 million people.
From the moment we arrived, our Rotary hosts treated us as honored guests. We led a street parade and visited the hospital where 500,000 children were to be vaccinated during the weekend. The government organises two National Immunisation Days a year where as many as 170 million children are vacinated each time!
National Polio Immunisation Day
We began at the railway station by looking through the windows of the trains for small children and enquiring if they had been immunized. It was amazing to watch a past Rotary District Governor Sudhir Gupta administer those two precious drops into the mouth of a child while leaning through the bars of the open train window.
We walked the length of the platform constantly looking for children. It was a most enlightening moment as we nervously placed the 2 drops into their mouths, often prised open by the parents! A big smile, paint the finger, a miniture Koala toy and off to find another child. By now we were all experienced as we had learnt not to touch their mouths with the vial as they were used until empty and to store them in the cooler bags.
A teenager crippled with polio was sitting on the ground at the railway station. We were instantly struck with the tragic irony of the situation, the six of us actively immunizing young children while this polio afflicted teenager watched on. This completely encapsulated the motivation behind our trip to India and further cemented the massive importance of the wonderful work that Rotary has done and is doing to rid the world of such a terrible affliction.
Our greatest challenge was when we visited the slum and nomadic villages of Moradabad. This sight was so distressing. The poorest of the poor!
We witnessed a mobile medical centre manned by doctors and volunteer medical staff. We observed the desperate need for fresh water and sanitation in these areas.
The living conditions in these villages are atrocious.
We were invited to present to our Rotary club’s district conference and were overwhelmed by the generosity of clubs and Rotarians. My club contributed $5,250 and together with the other clubs and central Rotary charity we raised $80,000 giving us enough money to provide:
- 2 fresh water pumps
- 4 toilets to 35 slum villages
- Funding for 20 Health camps
Another project run by some Dutch Rotary clubs is assisting a further 25 villages.
With the memories of our National Immunization Day trip to Moradabad firmly in our mind we will continue fund raising to support additional Monthly Medical Clinics and Vocational Training Teams to address health and hygiene issues to provide opportunities to improve their earning capacity.
It’s because of our involvement with Rotary International through our husbands that we had this opportunity of a lifetime to visit India for a Polio National Immunization Day and to make a difference.
We made a difference – you can too
Written by: Jill Richards, Val Glenn, Sue Martin, Kay Ericson, Veronica Podbury and Gaye Barnes, (Partners of Rotarians of District 9810)