SCHOOL pupils are helping save the lives of thousands of slum children in India.
More than 2,000 pupils from four schools in Mirfield and Dewsbury raised over £1,000.
The cash will help immunise 5,000 slum children in India against the dreadful disease of polio.
Pupils were moved to help the children when they heard about the danger of the paralysing disease to the under-fives in the Lucknow area of India.
Catherine Lockwood, headteacher at Crossley Fields Junior and Infant School in Mirfield, said: “The children were moved to hear that in Lucknow poverty and a lack of health care threaten the lives of young children.
“They felt a strong urge to help the slum children.”
Other schools that raised funds were Battyeford Primary School and Old Bank Junior and Infant School – both in Mirfield – and Westborough High School in Dewsbury.
The children were told about the terrible plight of the youngsters by Mirfield Rotarian Chris Philip.
Chris – polio officer for Rotary in Yorkshire – and her retired doctor husband, John, have been involved with several mercy missions to immunise children as part of Rotary International’s campaign to eradicate polio from the world.
Chris, of Fixby, said: “Children in Lucknow live under the shadow of the fear of polio.
“Some of those who are paralysed by polio are abandoned by parents to beg and scrape a living.
“The sad thing is that the disease can be easily prevented – just two drops of polio vaccine can prevent the disease.”
In 1985 Rotary International declared its dream of a polio-free world by immunising every child under five against polio.
There are only very few pockets of the disease and the last push is expensive and complex.
John – a retired breast cancer specialist and Chris, a retired teacher wife – led a team of 34 volunteers to India in February.
It was organised as part of National Immunisation Day when 157 million children under five were immunised against polio.
The highly infectious disease can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis.
It has been eradicated from the world except four countries – India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.