Meg Salyer has seen the good small groups of people can do for those living in poverty.
Back in Oklahoma City after a monthlong trip to India and Nepal with Rotary International, the city council member is working to link local experts with people serving the needy.
“Small groups of people with means and resources really are making a difference in some of these really impoverished communities,” she said.
Salyer said her group arrived in India in time for activities associated with the Polio National Immunization Day. One of Rotary's missions is eradication of polio; UNICEF reported India had a goal of immunizing 180 million children this year.
The last case of polio reported in India was a child paralyzed by the disease in 2011. The country is on the verge of being declared polio-free by world health authorities.
Clubs join forces
Salyer's group also met with Rotary clubs in Delhi, the capital region, where local clubs sponsor five schools supported by Rotary. The cost to run an entire school for a year is $2,000, she said.
Salyer said she saw a Delhi Rotary club distribute donated wheelchairs, including one that went to a 17-year-old girl whose mother carried her to the donation center.
Delhi, with about 14 million people, faces tremendous challenges, Salyer said.
“You can't believe the electrical wires everywhere,” she said. “As a city leader, I can't even imagine how you would start.
“I have never seen anything like the combination of the density of population and the poverty coupled with the lack of infrastructure.”
In Nepal, the group visited a dialysis center at a Katmandu hospital that is funded and sponsored by local Rotary clubs. Salyer said the clubs hope to add a cardiac wing there.
Salyer was elected to the city council in 2008. She is a past president and was the first woman president of the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City, the third-largest Rotary club in the world, with about 565 members. She is president of Accel Financial Staffing in Oklahoma City.