Landmarks lit up with End Polio Now message
The Sydney Opera House in Australia is illuminated with an End Polio Now message 23 February. The message was projected onto a number of iconic landmarks worldwide in honor of Rotary's 104th anniversary. Photo by Mark Wallace.
A number of iconic landmarks, including the British Parliament, the Colosseum, and the Sydney Opera House, provided a dramatic backdrop for an equally dramatic message: End Polio Now.
Those three words -- Rotary's pledge to rid the world of the crippling childhood disease -- were projected onto each structure’s exterior the week of 23 February, the organization's 104th anniversary.
"By illuminating these historic landmarks with our pledge to end polio, Rotary clubs are announcing to the world that we will not stop until the goal is achieved," says Jonathan Majiyagbe, Rotary Foundation trustee chair. "We hope people everywhere will see these words, either in person or through the media, and join with us and our partners in this historic effort to rid the world of polio once and for all."
The illuminated displays are just one highlight of an already historic year in Rotary's 20-year effort to eradicate polio, which has helped reduce cases of the disease by more than 99 percent. In January, Rotary received a US$255 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced during the 2009 International Assembly , on top of the $100 million Gates Foundation grant it received in November 2007. In response to the grants, Rotary has committed to raising $200 million in matching funds over the next three years. All $555 million will be spent in support of eradication activities.
A number of sites in Scotland also were lit up with the End Polio Now message, including the Culzean Castle, in Ayrshire; the City Chambers and Greenock Town Hall, in Glasgow; and Eilean Donan Castle, in Dornie. End Polio Now was also projected onto the High Falls of Rochester, New York (USA) the evening of 23 February.
In addition to the projected images, Rotary clubs worldwide have planned a variety of polio awareness and fundraising activities around Rotary’s anniversary. Here are just a few examples:
Purple Pinkie Week begins 23 February in England. Rotary club members in District 1240 (England) will solicit donations for the polio eradication effort and mark each donor's pinkie finger with a spot of purple dye. (That's how volunteers and health workers in developing countries record that a child has received the oral polio vaccine.)
- Rotary clubs working with Singapore's postal service have arranged for the release of official postage stamps with messages about polio eradication and other causes championed by Rotary.
- In a hands-on show of Rotary's commitment to end polio, a team of 12 Korean Rotarians, accompanied by Korean journalists, will travel to India the week of 23 February to help immunize thousands of children.
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