Brothers helping children with polio

390. Arun Patel (Ilford)
391. Mayoor Patel (Bolton)

Two brothers who have changed the lives of hundreds of children living with polio, giving them the care and education they need to have an equal opportunity in life.

Arun and Mayoor Patel founded the charity Polio Children in the UK in 2003 after visiting a school for children affected by polio in Rajasthan. Having suffered polio as an infant, Arun learned from his own experience that a good education was the best way to live a full life despite the lasting effects of polio. The brothers wanted to give other children the same chance to complete their education and live life to the full as other children, and since then they have raised over £1.2m and helped to change the lives of over 1,000 children.

Arun from Ilford & Mayoor from Bolton are the latest people to be named Points of Light – outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is recognised as a Point of Light to celebrate their remarkable achievements. Polio Children is a registered charity in both the UK and US, with Arun and Mayoor’s brother Dr Shirish leading on the US organisation.

Together they have:

  • Funded a university education for over 220 children
  • Set up computer and prosthetics labs to give around 180 children a year vocational skills • Provided wheelchairs and other healthcare support
  • Made education possible for over 200 extremely poor disabled girls
  • Grown the charity’s work internationally, also helping children in Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Tanzania
  • Started an outreach program looking to help in Nepal, Ukraine and Kenya

As India recently celebrated eradicating polio, with three years since the last reported case, the work of polio children to support the thousands of children around the world already affected by the disease continues to improve their chances in life.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Arun and Mayoor Patel have seen first-hand the huge impact polio has on a child’s life and they have dedicated their lives to helping to overcome the difficulties they face. By making sure children with polio have the same chance of finishing their education as other children, and helping them to gain vocational skills, they make a huge difference in their lives. Over 1,000 children have received support and education through Polio Children, and I am delighted to recognise Arun and Mayoor as Points of Light for all that they have achieved.”

Arun said:

“I am truly humbled to receive this award which I will dedicate to the hundreds and thousands of polio afflicted children who gave us an opportunity to serve them.”

Mayoor said:

“It is an honour to have such a great team of trustees and ambassadors to work with at Polio Children. We are also privileged to have the support of so many sponsors and donors. They are the silent partners in this award.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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