Happy 118th Birthday Rotary

On Thursday 23 February 2023, Rotary International celebrated its 118th Birthday.

On 23 February 1905, Paul P. Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram E. Shorey gathered in Loehr’s office for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting.  The world has somewhat changed since then, but the principles on which Rotary was founded have survived and thrived.

Today Rotary is still concentrating on its five avenues of service:

  1. Club Service;
  2. Vocational Service;
  3. Community Service;
  4. International Service;
  5. Youth Service

Today, the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International has seven Areas of Focus:

  1. Promoting Peace;
  2. Fighting Disease (including Polio);
  3. Providing Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene;
  4. Saving Mothers and Children;
  5. Supporting Education;
  6. Growing Local Economies;
  7. Protecting the Environment.

The number one project of Rotary International worldwide is still Polio Eradication – a project which was started as a pilot in 1979 in the Philippines.  We have the vaccine to eradicate the disease, but there are still two endemic countries where polio is spreading.  The purple crocuses in the photo remind us of the purple marks made on the nails of the children when they are vaccinated: the mark helps us identify those that have already been vaccinated, and those who are still to be vaccinated once their parents consent.

Will 2023 be the first year when the new cases stop?  Only time will tell.

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