On Wednesday February 23, the Rotary Clubs of Liguanea Plains, Kingston East and Port Royal and Downtown Kingston collaborated with the Jamaica Stock Exchange to celebrate Rotary’s 106 Birthday and Rotary’s Billion-Dollar Campaign to End Polio Now. Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than $900 million and countless volunteer hours to the effort and are now working aggressively to raise the $200 million needed to match the Gates Foundation grants. The money is needed to ensure that the progress made over more than two decades will continue.
JSE Celebrated Rotary International 106th Birthday
Jamaica joined Lisbon, Portugal, Amsterdam; Brussels, Belgium; and Paris who all rang their bells to celebrate Rotary’s work to End Polio Now. Also, the President of Rotary International, Ray Klinginsmith, rang the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange. The stock exchange ceremonies represent the first time the bell rung for a single cause in all six markets.
While Polio no longer exists in Jamaica, Past District Governor Errol Alberga explained that the Polio Project has been very important to Rotarians in Jamaica for decades. “Rotary took on the End Polio Challenge in 1985 and they started working first in the Philippines. At the time, Charter President of the Rotary Club of Black River in Jamaica, Dr. Roy Francis, took his vacation time to volunteer to work in the Philippines to help with vaccinations. Jamaica might be very small, but the Rotary Clubs of Jamaica can be proud that we stay in the forefront of what’s happening around the world as exemplified by what Dr. Francis achieved and the bell ringing ceremony with the other exchanges.”
Marlene Street Forrest, General Manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, also highlighted the tremendous value of Rotary: “We at the Jamaica Stock Exchange hope that through the ringing of the bell here today, there will be a greater awareness of the work that Rotary International has been performing for the last 106 years and that others will stand ready to lend support to spread the word and partner with Rotary Clubs to achieve total eradication of polio.”
President Trevor of the Rotary Club of Liguanea Plains also stressed the importance of partnership in Rotary. “Each one of us joins Rotary to pool our efforts with other persons and thereby create greater value in the service we offer. SO in a similar way, when several Rotary clubs come together in the way that we have today, the impact is so much greater and the causes we support garner such higher benefits. I am proud that we are part of a truly global initiative that is creating positive results in the lives of real people in Jamaica and around the world.”
To learn more about polio eradication, including how to participate in this historic effort, visit www.rotary.org/endpolio today.
As a part of the continued celebration today, Rotarians have been on the local radio and TV stations. Also, the End Polio Now logo is being displayed on the Digicel Electronic Board in New Kingston today.