During the recent lockdown, a unique online fundraiser titled Manavta Ka Gahna (Jewel of Humanity), was organised by the World’s Greatest Meal team led by Country Coordinator Aabha Jha Choudhary, RID 3011, as part of her End Polio Campaign in April.
The handcrafted jewellery made by Aabha to raise funds for PolioPlus “helped raise ₹11.2 lakh from this cloud auction, and matched 1:2 by the Gates Foundation, this amount will go to over ₹33.5 lakh,” she said.
As a multi-district programme, the WGM (www.wgmeal.com) is being carried out in 83 countries building Rotary’s public image while raising funds for PolioPlus.
A TV anchor and social activist, Aabha wanted to utilise her free time during the lockdown by making jewellery. As she started working she realised that the pieces were quite exquisite and this gave her the idea of auctioning it to raise funds for eradicating polio under the WGM banner.
RIPN Shekhar Mehta and Rashi, RIDs Kamal Sanghvi (with Sonal), Bharat Pandya (with Madhavi), Trustee Gulam Vahanvaty, Rotary global leaders including RID David Stovall, RRFC Nancy Barbee and Trustee Nominee Aziz Memon, among others, took part in the Zoom auction. They were all praise for the WGM team for coming up with such an innovative idea during the lockdown.
RIPN Mehta told the online gathering that this was a creative endeavour “and despite the COVID-19 breakout, we have not forgotten our polio eradication mission.”
Added Rashi Mehta, “Creativity has got a different meaning with a touch of humanity.” Mehta congratulated the Founder-member Susanne Rea, RID 9550, Australia, for WGM and he encouraged the participants to buy more.
Rotarians from 20 countries took part in the e-auction and also “learnt that despite the adverse conditions, Rotarians can come together for this cause (polio) to raise money.” The auction collected around $14,966 in the first two hours; after the Bill Gates Foundation pitched in, the amount rose to $44,898 and the figure is still rising by the day. “We will come out with a similar event with a larger goal soon,” said Aabha.