Changing the Way Canadians Think About Disability
In 1984, Rotarian Vim Kochhar and his fellow The Rotary Club of
Toronto - Don Valley members were asked to help raise funds for the
Cheshire Homes Foundation to help build housing for the deaf-blind.
The eventual result was the First Annual Great Valentine Gala which
took place in February, 1985 in Toronto and raised $230,000. It was
supposed to be a one-time event, but within two years became so
successful that a separate charitable organization to stage
subsequent events and allocate funds was created.
That organization was the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons (CFPDP), set up in 1987 by the The Rotary Club of Toronto - Don Valley with Vim Kochhar as Founding Chair. Its goal was to assist individuals with physical challenges to live fuller lives and raise awareness of their achievements and contributions to society. Since then, CFPDP has initiated dozens of important Projects & Events, raising over $21 million.
Today, the CFPDP continues to initiate projects that help thousands of physically challenged people across the country. "We need to concentrate on things that really matter like character, compassion and community," says Kochhar. "Above all, we need to build awareness and keep promoting the message of inclusion."