International Night – Purpose
International Service encompasses efforts to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the world and to promote world understanding and peace. It includes everything from contributing to PolioPlus to helping Rotary Youth Exchange students adjust to their host countries.
In January 2010 the Club organized the first annual International Night as part of its fundraising support for Rotary International’s Polio Plus program – aimed at global eradication of the crippling and sometimes deadly disease – and the Club’s other international humanitarian and service works.
The International Night also provides an opportunity for the community to learn more about a particular country – India was celebrated as the honored country at the inaugural International Night – as part of Rotary’s commitment to promoting world understanding. The second honored country was Saudi Arabia and the partnership with Tennessee Tech’s Saudi Students Club presented a unique opportunity to build bridges. In 2012 Germany was honored and speakers, food and entertainment reflected that choice.
The 2013 International Night is honoring the country of Japan and the speakers, food, entertainment and ambiance will transport you to the land of the Rising Sun — an important American ally, strategic partner and home of a unique culture. We again benefit from thoughtful and generous sponsors and supporters like the Clarion Inn of Cookeville, the Tennessee World Affairs Council and others, covering much of the expenses associated with hosting the event. That means that much of ticket sales for International Night-goers will directly benefit Rotary’s good works.
In 1985, there were 350,000 polio cases in 125 countries.. ..today there are only three endemic countries, the lowest in history: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.
- A crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease, polio (poliomyelitis) still strikes children mainly under the age of five in countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
- Polio can cause paralysis and sometimes death. Because there is no cure for polio, the best protection is prevention. For as little as US$0.60 worth of vaccine, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life.
- It can cause paralysis within hours, and polio paralysis is almost always irreversible.
- In the most severe cases, polio attacks the motor neurons of the brain stem, causing breathing difficulty or even death.
- Historically, polio has been the world’s greatest cause of disability.
If polio isn’t eradicated, the world will continue to live under the threat of the disease.
More than 10 million children will be paralyzed in the next 40 years if the world fails to capitalize on its $5 billion global investment in eradication.
Rotary Clubs have fought the scourge of polio for over 25 years through fundraising and hands-on activities like direct participation in National Immunization Days in endemic countries. Clubs around the world are currently meeting a grant challenge from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Foundation has committed $355 million in a challenge for Rotary clubs to raise $200 million by June 30, 2012.
The Cookeville Breakfast Rotary Club is one of 33,000 clubs worldwide that has been committed to polio eradication since 1985 and is proud to have been named an “Eradicator Club” in the current campaign through its members’ direct support and its community fundraising efforts.
Cookeville Breakfast Rotary Club Programs
In addition to the keystone global program to wipe out polio orchestrated by Rotary International, the Cookeville Breakfast Rotary Club is involved in a host of international service programs that complement other important community service and vocational work in Cookeville. Among these are:
Rotary Ghana Project
The Cookeville Breakfast Rotary Club has joined with the Crossville Rotary Club and other area Rotary Clubs in direct international service work in Western Ghana. Over five years the Club’s financial contributions and hands-on work have resulted in dozens of water wells being built in and around Ateiku, Ghana, providing clean drinking water to tens of thousands of people who were subject to numerous water-borne debilitating diseases from unsanitary drinking sources. The Club also provides manpower on the ground for water projects, school literacy work and support of medical clinics in Ghanaian villages. In January 2011 a new water well drilling rig is on its way from a factory in America to Ghana through the leadership of the Crossville and Cookeville Breakfast Rotary Clubs – part of a $53,000 fundraising effort that will bring clean drinking water – to many more people.
In June 2011 both clubs lead a medical team trip to Western Ghana to treat villagers who might otherwise go without preventive and corrective health services. Some funds from International Night were used for medicines and supplies in support of the medical team. [For more info visit the documentary web site: www.RotaryGhanaProject.com created by the Cookeville Breakfast Rotary Club, to see the videos of what has been accomplished in your name.] The next Rotary trip to Ghana for humanitarian service work is set for May 2013.
The Cookeville Breakfast Rotary Club’s international avenue of service also addresses the task of building bridges and increasing global understanding through exchanges and educational efforts.
The Youth Exchange Program is Rotary’s effort for students to live and study in a foreign country – students from our community traveling abroad, and foreign students coming to Cookeville – in a program that builds lifelong goodwill and understanding.
The Group Study Exchange affords teams of young professionals the opportunity to spend about a month learning about other cultures and vocations through international exchange – reciprocal visits of Tennesseans traveling abroad and international teams coming to our area.
These are just a sample of what can be done through the efforts of Rotarians, the Rotary Foundation and members of our community who pitch in to make a better world. Thank you for your support in the past and your patronage of the International Night. We’ll see you there.