June 6, 2015 is significant for the Rotary Club of Madras, India. This is when the Club’s Rotary End Polio Flame reached Sao Paulo, Brazil for the 106th Rotary International Convention.
The Flame, to celebrate the end of polio in India and to herald a polio free world, was launched on Dec 13, 2014. It was an audacious attempt to mobilize Rotarians across the globe to fight the last mile in the war against polio. From Sydney to Lagos, Manila to Madrid, Taipei to Toronto, the Flame fired people’s imagination and strengthened their resolve to end polio. Governors of provinces, mayors of cities, the President of Rotary International and people on the street all held the Flame aloft with pride.
The Rotary Club of Madras was a pioneer of PolioPlus, Rotary’s global campaign to end polio. Indeed, it is the huge success of the Club’s German Measles Vaccination Project in the 1980s that is said to have encouraged Rotary to launch PolioPlus. The Flame is thus a fitting tribute to the early efforts of the Club.
The Flame and its satellites travelled through 17 countries, including the 3 remaining polio endemic countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Though money was not a primary objective, the flame helped collect over US$ 2 million for the Rotary Foundation.
The Rotary End Polio Flame of the Rotary Club of Madras is perhaps one of the largest global projects ever by any Rotary Club anywhere in the world.
RI President Gary Huang received the Flame ceremonially on June 6, 2015 at the opening plenary of the Sao Paulo Convention at a soul stirring ceremony. See the ceremony on
The Flame Project was spearheaded by Rtn PP N K Gopinath, Flame Committee Chair and Rtn Rajesh Somasundaram, Co-Chair with the guidance of President Rtn S.N. Srikanth.