Touchstone Story #41–Encouraging Peace

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On July 22, 2011, the calm of a normal day in Norway was shattered by an explosion in Oslo, the nation’s capital, just a few doors from the prime minister’s office. Hours later, as police were investigating the car bomb that killed eight and injured more than 200, the man responsible had already taken a ferry to the nearby island Utøya, killing 69 youth camp attendees, adult supervisors and camp employees.

The gunman was taken into custody by police, but in a country that hadn’t seen this kind of violence since World War II, it was an act of terrorism that most young people could not comprehend. One in four Norwegians knew someone who had been affected by the attack. Michelle Borgli of the Fredrikstad Sorgenfri Lions Club, a participant at a similar youth camp organized by the Lions, said that “the day before the bombings, we were in [Oslo] with the camp. It affected the students more when they realized how young the people were—and they were at a camp just like us.”

The Lions of Norway seized the opportunity to help youth camp participants understand this tragedy and spread peace as well.

Helle Soos, also of the Fredrikstad Sorgenfri Lions Club, said the aftermath of this tragedy “was a golden opportunity to get a new way of doing the camp,” encouraging camp participants to imagine peace.

For more than 60 years, the Lions Club Youth Camp and Exchange Program had attracted young people from all over the world to Norway. The Norway Imagine Peace Camp is one of more than 100 Lions camps around the world held each year. Camp activities include sports, a variety show and visits to locations of cultural interest, but at the Imagine Peace Camp there is a special focus on fostering discussions of peace and building international friendships.

“In my part of the world, I’ve never known peace,” said 2015 camp participant Milad Bisharat of Israel. “We face problems inside Israel and outside. . . . The traditions here are awesome. Nobody cares who you are or what you are—they’re just friends with you.”

Lions also promote peace across the North Sea in Germany. Since 1967, the Peace Village, a partnership between the Lions Club and Peace Village International, has helped more than 42,000 children heal together. Treating children who have been injured by sickness, accidents or war and who cannot receive adequate treatment in their home countries, Peace Village provides medical treatment, physical therapy and an environment of healing and hope.

Eberhard J. Wirfs of Kelkheim, Germany, who served as international president in 2009-10, said that hope is the most important thing that Peace Village offers. “Without hope, you really can’t exist.”

Hope—and peace—are offered by Lions around the world. Their goal is to help people understand, as an Imagine Peace camp participant said, that “we are different, maybe, but actually—we are all the same.”

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. Don’t forget to share these stories with new members so they gain an understanding of Lions history!

Lions of Paraguay Hard at Work

Ongoing Flood Relief in Paraguay

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After immediate needs are met, victims of disasters are not forgotten. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) remains committed to the important rebuilding of homes and lives that must happen, often long after a disaster occurs. Through Major Catastrophe Grants, LCIF helps with long-term reconstruction projects to help victims begin to return to their lives and regain their independence.

Part of what makes LCIF disaster relief so unique is that it continues for as long as it is needed. LCIF provided a US$200,000 Major Catastrophe grant for relief in the wake of devastating floods that struck Paraguay in December 2015/January 2016. Now, a year and a half later, relief work is still ongoing. Lions and LCIF are still there, supporting communities as they rebuild.

Local Lions recently finished repairs on 5 primary schools that were destroyed by flood waters. Because of this important work,  1,725 students have been able to return to school.

1,725 children can return to school because of Lions

Lions of Paraguay aren't afraid to get a little dirt on their hands

Lions of Paraguay are determined to make education a reality for children there

A Lion giving relief kits to a family in Brazil.

LCIF Awards Disaster Grants, May 2017

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) offers a variety of funding options to support various stages for disaster relief operations, including Disaster Preparedness, Emergency, Community Recovery and Major Catastrophe Grants.

For districts impacted by a natural disaster including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis, Emergency Grants provide up to US$10,000. Lions district governors may apply for disaster relief funds to help meet immediate needs such as food, water, clothing and medical supplies. LCIF typically awards more than US$2 million in Emergency Grant funding each year. Community Recovery Grants aid districts interested in supporting short-term clean-up and repair efforts in situations where other organizations have already addressed immediate needs. Lions district governors may submit proposals for community recovery grants.

In May 2017, LCIF awarded 8 Emergency Grants totaling US$75,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

Texas, USA, District X-2
US$10,000 for tornado relief

Ecuador, District G-1
US$10,000 for flood relief

Canada, DistrictA-16
US$10,000 for flood relief

Arkansas, USA, District 7-O
US$10,000 for flood relief

Missouri, USA, District 26-M2
US$10,000 for flood relief

Chile, District T-1
US$10,000 for flood relief

Thailand, District 310-A2
US$5,000 for windstorm relief

Brazil, District LC-8
US$10,000 for hailstorm relief


Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster fund today.

Donate to LCIF


Touchstone Story #4–We Serve

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Lions have both a slogan and a motto.

The slogan reflects the organization’s formative years in America during and after World War I. The motto declares its common purpose in two short words.

In the early 1920s, the slogan “Liberty, Intelligence, Our Nation’s Safety”—an acronym for the word Lions—appeared widely on club stationary, billboards and other promotional materials. Who said it first? Perhaps it was a young attorney named Halsted Ritter who rose to speak at the 1919 International Convention in Chicago.

“The name Lions stands not only for fraternity, good fellowship, strength of character and purpose,” Ritter declared, “but, above all, the combination of L-I-O-N-S heralds to the country the true meaning of citizenship.”

The words suited the patriotism that swept the U.S. following WWI, and Lions adopted the acronym as its slogan.

As the Lions movement grew across national borders, cultures, and languages, Lions began looking for other words to describe their mission and work. In 1954, the board announced an International Motto Contest and invited suggestions from all 522,000 worldwide members.

According to the entry form, the motto had to be “enduring,” “international in character,” and “easily translatable.” There was also a strict contest rule to discourage wordiness. Lions could submit as many mottoes as they liked, but each entry could be no more than five words in length.

To get Lions thinking, the organizers gave out a few five-word examples: “Men of Action in Action.” “Working with Others for Others.” “Worldwide Service to Humanity.”

Thankfully, 11 of the 6,000 Lion contestants had better ideas. They each submitted identical entries. But Canadian Lion D. A. Stevenson from Fonthill, Ontario, was declared the winner as his submission had the earliest postmark. His motto contained two simple words: “We Serve.”

Explore the exciting history of Lions Clubs International with our exclusive Touchstone Stories series. They’re a great resource for promoting service at your club meetings!

Trachoma Prevalance map of Uganda

Making Progress in the Fight Against Trachoma

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In January 2017, the SightFirst Advisory Committee awarded a US$1,500,000 grant to the Lions of Uganda and Kenya through the partnership between the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust (QEDJT) and Lions Club International Foundation (LCIF). This grant supports trachoma surgeries in extension districts of Uganda and all endemic counties of Kenya.

The original target of the first SightFirst grant in Uganda in collaboration with the QEDJT was to reduce the Trachomatous trichiasis TT surgery backlog by 65% in Karamoja and Busoga sub-regions. Twelve of the original 17 districts in these sub-regions have reached their ultimate intervention goal, and five districts in the Karamoja sub-region are close to reaching their goals. In these remaining districts, there are an estimated 1,700 TT cases remaining in the backlog.

Lions are working with the QEDJT and LCIF funds are expected to support 7,250 TT surgeries in Kenya and 4,500 in Uganda over a yearlong period.


Palmer’s Blog: Lions & Leos ROAR!

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Here’s a short video of me with Lions and Leos from District 412 showing our spirit! I always loving meeting new Lions who are so passionate and excited…

LQ: Lions Make Iceland Green

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The latest issue of the Lions Quarterly video magazine features Lions in Iceland who are addressing their country’s environmental concerns, such as soil erosion due to heavy deforestation….

Video: Lions Support Drug Rehabilitation

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Today, we’re sharing a video from the Lions Quarterly archives that features Lions in Norway who support a drug rehabilitation center. Not only does the center provide the…

LQ: Lions Stuff the Bus

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The January 2014 issue of Lions Quarterly includes a segment that features Lions in Wisconsin and their first-ever statewide project. The Stuff the Bus project collects school supplies…