In 1938, a 17 year old son of a poor farmer in Gujarat,India completed his high school education after overcoming innumerable and sometimes unimaginable challenges and difficulties. He passed with outstanding grades but was unable to pursue further studies because of his family’s poor economic situation- not unlike that of the students of SKSN. However he was determined that his children would not face the same fate. His name was Vaghjibhai Ranchodbhai Patel.
Three of his sons who have directly benefited from his one and only motto in life “education at any cost” are the founding trustees of Polio Children(UK), Arun V Patel, FCA,FCCA and Mayoor V Patel BSc(Hons), MLIA Dip,CMS, and Polio Children(USA): Dr. Shirish V Patel, M.B.,B.s., MRCPsych.
With the guidance and support of their late father, the three of them have managed to pursue highly distinguished careers in their respective professions. However the overriding message emitted by Vaghjibhai i.e. education being the only key to gain freedom from poverty was never far from their minds. This message had even much stronger reverberations in the mind of Arun Patel who also suffers from polio.
It was therefore no surprise that in late 2002 when Arun came across a newspaper article on a boarding school looking after poor and polio ridden children in Rajasthan, India, the three of them decided to fly over and visit the school to personally evaluate what help could be provided. This first visit to the school(SKSN) left them with an overwhelming desire to help change the lives of those children for good.
They also realised that in order to gain maximum leverage for the financial support to be granted certain long term initiatives and plans would need to be in place.
Hence, they immediately proceeded to set up Polio Children as a registered charity in the UK and the USA.
Since its formation in 2003, Polio Children , with the help of thousands of friends and well wishers has continued to work in partnership with its Indian and African counterparts to educate the poor and physically challenged children so they could all look forward to a life of hope and dignity.