From Cape to Cairo … goodbye Polio!

This afternoon at Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Kick Polio Out of Africa football – that had journeyed through 23 countries in Africa since February 23 – was “kicked-out” by Egyptian Soccer Captain Eslam El Shatter, witnessed by a massive crowd that had gathered on the Plaza after the official finale ceremony held in the Great Hall. The Plaza faces the Mediterranean Sea. The breeze was gentle and humid.

Going, going, gone …

Ayoub Ayoub and his team had superbly organized this final event down to the last detail. The official finale ceremony that commenced at 15:00 lasted an hour and was attended by Adel Labib – Governor of Alexandria (seen below signing the ball), representatives of the Minister of Health, Unicef, WHO, goodwill ambassador Hani Salama (GWA), Embassy of Nigeria, DHL,  IDG Assem A. Razek, many high profile people, interns and Rotarians. Numerous speakers from different perspectives gave a broad overview of the history, present status and the efforts of Rotary International and its global partners, to eradicate polio. The substantial contribution by The Gates Foundation was highlighted.

Above: In the auditorium of The Great Hall from L-R: IDG Assem Razek, AG Mohsen, Ayoub Ayoub (KPOA Coordinator) and the Ministry of Health – Dr Wahdan.

 

At the close of the event in The Great Hall of Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the ball was handed over to one of the polio survivors, who in turn, with a smile gave the ball to a bouncy five year-to give to the GWA. Hani holding the ball, was followed  onto the Plaza by the crowd. He handed the ball to Captain Eslam El Shatter where a large crowd had gathered in festive mood, with folklore dancing and traditional music, to do the final kick. Good pre-event promotion of the event had attracted a large diverse crowd keen to witness the “kick-off”.

The” kick off” was done from a bridge overlooking the Plaza, high above the crowd below.  It was time to celebrate a long safe journey which had united governments throughout Africa to come together in solidarity to EndPolioNow.

As the ball leaves the continent of Africa, it is followed by a tsunami of dedication, commitment and goodwill of every member of the KPOA team who have participated in this unique project.   May the energy that travels with this ball impact positively on all those attending the RI Convention in Montreal, to help strengthen our resolve to  eradicate polio, once and for all.

Finally, as project  coordinator,  my personal thanks to all who have made the Kick Polio Out of Africa campaign possible. The timing with the start of the 2010 World Soccer event on June 11 could not have been better. Grateful thanks to DHL for their support as our primary sponsor and to Sandra Prufer and Petina Dixon, our Rotary International support staff for their professionalism and dedication to the project.

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One Response to “From Cape to Cairo … goodbye Polio!”

  1. ASHOK R MIRCHANDANI Says:

    AN EXCELLENT FINALE!

    THANKS TO ALL!

    THIS ISTHE BEGINING OF THE END OF POLIO!

    NO MORE STRESSFUL LATE NIGHTS AND WORRIES! GOODBYE POLIO!

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