Reflections on Rotary in India

During January 2020, I returned to India (location of our first D6270 Friendship Exchange in 2018) to visit clubs and projects in Cochin, Coimbatore, Maheshwar, Delhi, and Jhansi, for 2 weeks.  The journey involved interaction with more than eight Rotary Clubs and visits to over a dozen Rotary projects. 
National Immunization Day (NID) 2020 India.  Our Garg NID 2020 Team of nine from the USA (CA, OR, WA, & WI), organized by PDG Anil Garg (RID 5240), received briefings from WHO and UNICEF in Delhi, and from WHO - Jhansi.   We participated in immunization activities in Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh, including the End Polio Now Parade, Booth Day immunization drive, WHO Certification reporting, and House-to-House immunization confirmation activities.  We were welcomed by the four Rotary Clubs in Jhansi, a metropolitan area with over 2 million people and several hundred thousand children to immunize.  Planning for the NID was extremely detailed.  Dedication of people involved in the effort was observable.  Over 1,200 booths were operated on Booth Day for people to bring their children to receive the oral polio vaccine.  The next day, NID door-to-door activities commenced as NID workers checked to see whether children at each residence had received their polio vaccination – the left pinkie is colored purple, okay, vaccinated, otherwise we should vaccinate.   The partnership among WHO, UNICEF, RI, US CDC, Indian Government, and Gates Foundation is critical to continued polio-free success in India. 
Save Limbs Global Grant – Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.  South India is facing a growing problem with Diabetes.  The Rotary Foundation recently approved a Global Grant initiated by Rotary Club of Coimbatore Cosmopolitan, with the partnership of Fond du Lac Morning Rotary and support of Rotary Club of Milwaukee, in partnership with Mowthi Hospital in Coimbatore.  The project will conduct camps every other month for two years to provide education and treatment to diabetics with a goal of avoiding foot amputation.  My visit enabled a tour of the hospital site, detailed discussion of the project with hospital personnel and club officers overseeing the grant, experience of the educational program and interaction with current diabetic foot patients at the Mowthi Hospital. 
Other Projects visited.  In Cochin, Rotary Clubs have supported a government hospital, providing a CT Scanner, a medical linear accelerator, dialysis machines, and other equipment.  Other clubs in Cochin have secured $1.3 million in funding for low cost shelters for people who lost their homes in the August 2018 flooding.  In Maheshwar, the Jhoole project and Maheshwar Rotary Club have trained over 3,000 young women in textile skills at the Women’s Empowerment Centre, sponsored a Weaving Center, sponsored a school, and provided a home for aged poor.  In Jhansi, Rotarians have sponsored a primary school, provided free meals weekly for the poor and homeless and support a medical college. 
This is the Centennial Year of Rotary in India and Rotary in India is growing.  Clubs in India are celebrating their legacy.  Many Indian clubs have invested significant time, effort, resources and energy in projects to build their community and provide for the less fortunate.  Visiting Rotarians in India provides inspiration for and validation of our Rotary Motto “Service Above Self.”