President’s Comment – 8 Oct 17

Hi All,
What a great meeting last Tuesday with guest speaker Evan Burrell. Thank you Evan for your presentation the use of Facebook and his thought on promoting our Club. I would like to thank all who attended and hope we can apply some of the suggestions made by Evan. Our next Zoom meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 18th October at 7.30pm ESDT or 6.30pm EST with Rev. Mal Dunnett one of our own members as guest speaker, giving a presentation on his work on his RAWCS project, 9-2010-11: Community Development & Education Assistance, Santa Isabel, Solomon Islands.

The project aims to provide and build community training and vocational training centres in the Province of Santa Isabel. Assist in training to provide vocational education, leadership, PDHPE, drug/alcohol & youth development programs.

The article below is an interesting one on the difficult work of eradicating the last pockets of polio that are still left. It is encouraging that we are moving toward to our final goal of a polio free world.

Overcoming obstacles to polio eradication in Pakistan

A Rotary volunteer administers polio drops to a child missed by earlier rounds in Pakistan.

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

Henry Ford

By Alina A. Visram, manager, Pakistan National PolioPlus Committee

When I first joined Pakistan’s PolioPlus Committee (PNPPC) as a manager close to eight years ago, polio eradication seemed within our reach. I used the opportunity to study poliomyelitis beyond just perceiving it as “a crippling disease.” I researched the causes and consequences; the types of polio virus; modes of prevention; and how elusive the virus can be given the right conditions.

Then in 2012, the dynamics of my country changed. We were faced with hostile militants, who refused to allow polio teams to vaccinate children in their territory. Our front line workers were regularly targeted for their work during campaigns.

Alina Visram bonds with the community in Pakistan.

Children were deprived of polio vaccine in several regions occupied by the militants making it inaccessible and hard to reach. Common myths and misconceptions were rife in most backward communities. Our biggest hurdle was “how do we change their mindset,” while they eyed us with suspicion and disdain.



We expanded our motley crew to a larger team. Together we worked closely with our polio partners to devise strategies and innovative approaches to overcome the odds; through placing Resource Centers in high risk districts; targeting nomads and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) through Permanent Transit Posts (PTPs); creating awareness in illiterate communities through speaking books; conducting workshops with enlightened religious clerics; and encouraging Rotary clubs to hold health camps in impoverished districts.

Meanwhile, polio cases spiraled across the country and in 2014 we reported over 300 cases of the wild poliovirus. In the years that followed, we worked with unwavering diligence and commitment in collaboration with the government of Pakistan to restrict polio transmission. Today, we have only five cases of polio stemming from the wild virus and only 11 globally, as of the end of September.

World Polio Day 24 October was established by Rotary International to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. It marks the long and arduous journey all endemic countries have struggled against, to eradicate polio.

The last mile is the hardest, but we are so close to the finish line.

President’s Comment – 1 Oct 17

Hi All,
A reminder of the ZOOM meeting to be held on Wednesday 4 October at 6.30pm EST or 7.30pm Eastern Summer Time.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday 3rd October, 7.00pm – Eastern Summer Time – 6.00pm Queensland time. 

Our guest speaker will be Evan Burrell who is a Rotarian from the Rotary Club of Turramurra, D9685 who began his Rotary life as a Rotaractor. Evan is an amazing fellow who is passionate about Rotary and puts an amazing amount of effort into Public Image. I am sure you will find his enthusiasm contagious. Please join us and it would be nice if you could invite a guest. It is a great opportunity for them to understand Rotary and hear Evan speak of the value of Rotary and the humanitarian work that Rotary does.

Please note the different day, which was changed to suit Evan.

If you have a friend who wants to attend please let me know and I will ensure that they receive the email with the link to the meeting.

Women share stories of humanitarian service on International Women’s Day


What motivates everyday women to do extraordinary things — to positively change the lives of people halfway around the world while inspiring so many folks at home?

Razia Jan, the founder and director of the Zabuli Education Center, was honored on International Women’s Day.  

Three Rotary members answered that question at a celebration of International Women’s Day hosted by the World Bank at its Washington, D.C., headquarters 8 March. 

Speaking to an audience of more than 300, with thousands listening to the live-stream, Razia Jan, Deborah Walters, and Ann Lee Hussey told their personal stories and explained what inspired them to build a girls school in Afghanistan, assist people living in a Guatemala City garbage dump, and lead more than 24 teams to immunize children in Africa and Asia.

“I’m so inspired to see the faces of the children, what they’re learning, how to stand up for their rights, to have ambition … to want to do things that may even be impossible — to have dreams,” said Jan, a member of the Rotary Club of Duxbury, Massachusetts, USA. 

An Afghan native now living in the United States, Jan has worked for decades to build connections between Afghans and Americans while improving the lives of young women and girls in Afghanistan.

Founder and director of the Zabuli Education Center, a school that serves more than 625 girls in Deh’Subz, Afghanistan, Jan said the first class of students graduated in 2015 and a women’s college will open soon. 

Dr. Deborah Walters, a member of the Rotary Club of Unity, was honored by the World Bank at International Women’s Day.  

The girls school teaches math, English, science, and technology, along with practical skills to prepare them to achieve economic freedom within a challenging social environment.

 Walters, a neuroscientist and member of the Rotary Club of Unity, Maine, USA, has served as a volunteer for Safe Passage (Camino Seguro), a nonprofit organization that provides educational and social services to children and families who live in a Guatemala City garbage dump.

Walters, known as the “kayaking grandmother,” traveled from her home in Maine to Guatemala in a small kayak to raise awareness of the plight of the residents.

Hussey, a member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, has made the eradication of polio and the alleviation of suffering by polio survivors her life’s work.

A polio survivor herself, she’s spent the past 14 years leading teams of Rotary volunteers to developing countries to immunize children during National Immunization Days.

Ann Lee Hussey was honored for her lifelong work in polio eradication.

She often chooses to lead or participate in NIDs in places that don’t often see Westerners: Bangladesh, Chad, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, and remote areas of Egypt and India. There, the need is greatest, and the publicity and goodwill that the trips foster are critical in communicating the urgency of the need for immunizations.

“These women exemplify what the World Bank is striving to attain every day with the twin goals of ending extreme poverty within a generation and boosting shared prosperity,” said Daniel Sellen, chair of the World Bank Group Staff Association. “They illustrate the power of women to change the world and improve people’s lives through innovative and impactful projects in education, economic development, and health.”

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