Sparkling in the spring sunshine, two thousand purple crocus flowers adorn a grassy bank in Pewsey Recreation Ground. Planted by Rotary in 2019 to celebrate the ongoing success of their forty-year project to eliminate polio from the world, the flowers are a poignant reminder of the power of vaccines. And now Rotary are also raising funds to support Covid vaccinations in developing countries.
Every child who is vaccinated against polio has his little finger, dipped in a purple dye to identify him – or her – as having been protected. So every year Rotary plant thousands of purple crocus and the payment for these goes to the End Polio Now project where it pays for childrens’ vaccinations.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation treble the sums donated, as part of a multi-agency drive to rid the world of this terrible, paralysing disease. This project, started by Rotary in the nineteen-eighties, has resulted in only two countries now left with polio – Afghanistan and Pakistan. Efforts continue to drive this virus from there and the world.
And now, with another virus attacking humanity, Rotary is helping to fight off Covid-19. Members of Marlborough & District Rotary are donating the cost of their own vaccines to a fund designed to vaccinate people in developing countries where the infrastructure is not available.
Rotary is an international organisation and is used to working with different Rotary Clubs around the world on polio vaccination, in helping people survive natural disasters, and in helping people improve their lives through better education, clean water and small loans to start businesses. With the experience built up from the worldwide polio elimination project, Rotary is well-placed to support Covid vaccinations in poorer countries.