Rotarian to donate $2 million to Help End Polio
Harshad Mehta, a native
of India who is a senior partner in the Belgium-based Rosy Blue diamond
and jewelry company, has pledged to donate the money to Rotary’s
polio eradication efforts over the next three years.
Foundation Trustee Chair Robert S. Scott recalls a conversation with him in December, when Mehta suddenly said, “I will give $2 million toward the match.” It was “a very exciting development and an extremely generous” commitment, says Scott.
Mehta, 60, joined the Rotary Club of Bombay Metropolitan in 1986 as a charter member. His previous contributions to The Rotary Foundation have totaled more than $1 million. Some of the money has been used to endow an Ambassadorial Scholarship that finances recipients’ studies at universities.
Mehta serves as chair of the United Arab Emirates operations of Rosy Blue, a family business that employs more than 15,000 people around the world. He’s also Armenia’s honorary consul in Mumbai and the vice chair of the Dubai Diamond Exchange. He is a past chair of the Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council and a past vice president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading, listening to music, walking, swimming, playing cricket, and spending time with his wife, three children, and five grandchildren.
In the final push to stop polio, Mehta urges Rotarians not to give up. “We must further strengthen our resolve as we are so close to the ultimate goal,” he says. “Any slackening at this point will result in a total loss of all the time, effort, and money put in over the past years.”
Decades ago, polio outbreaks were a constant threat around the world. After the introduction of polio vaccines by Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin and a steadfast immunization effort, these outbreaks became part of history in most of the world.
Yet many still live under the threat of polio, which is why Rotary and its global partners are committed to reaching every child with the vaccine and ending this disease worldwide.
Major gains have been made in the global fight against polio:
In the 1980s, 1,000 children were infected by the disease every day in 125 countries. Today, polio cases have declined by 99 percent, with fewer than two thousand cases reported in 2006.
Two billion children have been immunized, five million have been spared disability, and over 250,000 deaths from polio have been prevented.
Contribute to stopping
The biggest obstacles to eradicating polio are the underfunding of the global initiative and insufficient political commitment from the remaining polio-affected countries. Rotary International believes the primary source for additional funds can and should be governments of polio-free industrialized countries. Your contribution through Rotary will help ensure that we keep doing our part to get the job done.
What your gift can do
Contribute to PolioPlus Partners
Contribute to the PolioPlus Fund
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