Crocuses will be blooming beautifully at three Letterkenny schools next Spring thanks to a unique project by the Letterkenny Rotary Club.
Transition years at Colaiste Ailigh, Loreto Secondary School and Errigal College carefully planted their flowers this week in preparation for World Polio Day.
‘World Polio Day’ takes place on Monday 24th October 2022, and the international symbol of Polio awareness is the crocus flower.
The Rotary Club in Letterkenny celebrated World Polio Day in 2017, 2018 and 2019 by planting Purple Crocus corms in Ballymacool Park. The purple colour is symbolic of the dye colour used by volunteers to signify when a child has received the Polio vaccine, and the Purple Crocus is used by Rotarians worldwide in raising awareness of the Rotary fight against Polio.
Since 2020, the Club have extended the distribution of the Crocus corms to three of the Secondary Schools in Letterkenny – Colaiste Ailigh, Loreto Secondary School and Errigal College.
The Transition pupils at each School have now planted these in their specially prepared gardens, and plaques to commemorate the event have also been erected. The pupils will research their Projects over the winter months and they will be finalised in February when hopefully the Bulbs will be in bloom.
Each of the participating pupils will then be presented with their Certificates of Participation in this unique Programme at that time, which they can then retain for their end-of-year Portfolios.
‘World Polio Day’ was established by Rotary International over a decade ago to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis.
In partnership with the WHO, UNICEF, and the Gates Foundation, Rotary International committed in 2017 to raise $ 450 billion which resulted in an oral vaccination to immunize 2.5 billion children worldwide (Global Polio Eradication Initiative).
Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal infectious disease usually affecting children under 5 years of age for which there is no cure, but there are safe and effective vaccines. It can be spread from person to person, typically through contaminated water. Though the disease is eradicated from most countries, it still affects some of the most marginalized sections and poorest people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nigeria was only declared Polio free in 2020. The main purpose of World Polio Day is to celebrate this great achievement but continue to spread the word, not the disease. Until we end Polio forever with vaccinations, every child remains at risk.
A spokesperson for the Letterkenny Rotary Club said: “This Polio Project is being completed in Letterkenny in association with the Transition Year Supervisors and school staff and we thank them for their support. It is intended to enlarge the Crocus areas at these schools over the next few years while pushing out the Programme to other local schools as well. The plants will remain a symbolic reminder of the ‘End Polio’ campaign for many years to come. More information can be found at https://www.endpolio.org/world-polio-day. “