Citizen of the World
Of the four million people living in Lebanon, more than a quarter are Syrian refugees. So when Michel Jazzar heard about the reappearance of polio in Syria in October 2013, he and other Rotarians in Lebanon were quick to realize the impact it could have on their own country, which has been polio-free for more than a decade.
Unlike in Jordan, where refugees reside in massive camps, in Lebanon, they live among the general population. “They are moving on the same roads, using the same hospitals, learning in the same schools,” says Jazzar, a member of the Rotary Club of Kesrouan. He helped coordinate Rotary’s participation in recent National Immunization Days in Lebanon, using billboards and television, radio, and newspaper advertising supported by two PolioPlus Partners grants totaling US$50,000.
Although Jazzar has been a Rotary member for more than 30 years – he’s also the Rotary representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia – he says the moment that made him a Rotarian was when he administered his first dose of polio vaccine.
“A Rotarian is someone who will give a drop of vaccine to a child and will never see this kid again, but who is sure this kid will be saved,” he says. “We are citizens of the world. We believe that humanity is one.”
– Diana Schoberg