Anna, 10, and Joshua, 14, donate their own money to help Rotary eradicate polio
, (June 22, 2009) -- Don’t think that the children of the world aren’t appreciative of the Herculean effort of Rotary clubs worldwide to eradicate the crippling disease polio.
Two young people -- 10-year-old Anna Zanotti, of Italy, and 14-year-old Joshua Kim, of the United States -- have come all the way to Birmingham to contribute their own savings to the cause during the humanitarian organization’s international convention at the National Exhibition Centre June 21-24.
Anna and her fifth grade classmates in Mantova, Italy, raised approximately US$164 in only two days after her mother, Patrizia Zanotti, a Rotary club member, told her how Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have worked since 1988 to eradicate polio. The task is more than 99 percent accomplished, her mother explained, but the disease still threatens children in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and more money is needed to finish the job.
“I thought of how many children like me I could save with my money,” says Anna, who came up with the idea of collecting more money in recycled chocolate boxes as a class project. She adds that they think of the donations in terms of actual lives, each represented by the 60 US cents it costs to immunize a child. “We are saving 195 lives,” she says. “Imagine a chocolate box that contains so many lives.”
In a similar fashion, Joshua, an eighth grader in Northbrook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, became interested when he learned his father’s Rotary club had donated $10,000 for polio eradication to the Rotary Foundation. After he read about polio in the organization’s monthly magazine, he decided to donate his entire savings of $1,200 -- seven years of weekly allowance and money earned from neighborhood jobs -- to the polio eradication campaign.
“Joshua believes it really is important for people who have money to step forward and make a contribution to help needy people,” his dad, Tony Kim, says.
Joshua and Anna will appear on-stage with Rotary Foundation Chair Jonathan Majiyagbe in the 23 June plenary session that begins at 9:30 a.m. Majiyagbe will recognize the children for their commitment to helping Rotary reach its goal of a polio-free world.