Touchstone Story #lions100

Touchstone Story: Clean Water

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More than 1 billion people lack proper access to clean drinking water—that’s one in every nine people around the world. Two-thirds of those people live in Africa and Asia. The United Nations has recognized water as not only a fundamental human right, but a “prerequisite to the realization of all other human rights.”

Pumpuar Dasim, a resident of Monggis, a mountain village in Borneo, Malaysia, once walked two kilometers round trip, three times a day, to collect water for her family from a nearby stream. If the local oxen were bathing in it when she arrived, she had to leave and return later.

This stream was the only source of water for a village of 1,000. Local government officials promised running water in their homes, but said it would take up to 16 years to complete the project.

But then the Lions came.

In 2014, Malaysian and Korean Lions teamed up to build a 21-kilometer filtered pipe system from the stream to Monggis’s village center and install high-pressure spigots in individual homes. With help from a matching LCIF International Assistance Grant of US$20,000, the Lions brought clean drinking water to Monggis within four months.

“It has changed my life,” said Dasim, whose family now has clean water with the turn of a tap instead of a two-kilometer hike. “Many, many thanks to the Lions.”

This is just one success in the Lions’ ongoing clean water projects. In 1961, M.S. Chockalingam, vice president of the Salem Lions Club in India, presented a new well pump and motor to a local high school and an entirely new pipeline to a local elementary school, ensuring clean and filtered water for the students. In 2010, Dr. Yanaoussou Dolo, a member of the Bamako Sokala Lions Club of Mali, helped to drill the bore hole for a brand new well in the village of Morodjambougou.

“Water is life,” Dr. Dolo said. “When you provide water to where there is no water, you are serving those in need.”

Lions continue to install water purification systems in India; new latrines and education initiatives in Ethiopia; and new clean water systems from pipes or new bore wells on the African and Asian continents. The growing water crisis is a big challenge, and it requires expansive resources to take it on—but also the willingness to fix problems locally.

Adil Najam, the dean of the Fredrick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, refers to battling the global water crisis as “the type of global action that an organization like the Lions Club can pull together. It is this sort of network that can pull in ideas from all over the world, and bring small change to each community.”

David French, a low-vision patient, paints a mug with the aid of an electronic magnifier closed circuit monitor

SightFirst Support in Texas

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Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) sight programs range from developing and improving eye care systems to providing sight-restoring surgeries and treatments to distributing medications to those most at-risk for eye diseases.

The Lions of District 2-S2 in Texas, USA, received a SightFirst grant of US$164,645 to expand low vision services in the Houston area. That grant has been used to establish group occupational therapy and patient education services, like those at the Low Vision Clinic at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston.

Patients are evaluated and paired up with high-powered lenses like magnifying glasses, telescopes or electronic magnifiers. An occupational therapist trains patients to use the equipment and maximize their vision levels. Now, patients also have access to a new support group where like-diagnosed patients can share and learn from each other.

Pictured above:
David French, a low-vision patient, participates in hobbies like painting a mug or building a bird house thanks to the aid of an electronic magnifier closed circuit monitor. Occupational Therapist Regina Budet heads the support group at Lyndon B. Johnson hospital. (Photo courtesy of Harris Health System)

Lions Day with the UN

Speakers at #LDUN 2016 – Gender Equality & Peace

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We’re excited to announce the speakers and Round table discussion participants for this year’s Lions Day with the United Nations (LDUN), held in New York City on March 12, 2016. This group of volunteers, human rights activists, writers, youth and U.N. representatives will be speaking about their views on the 2016 LDUN theme “Gender Equality and Peace,” and how Lions, Leos and the United Nations can work together to empower young girls and boys.

Join the conversation on March 12 by following @lionsclubs and #LDUN on Twitter.


tennille-amorTennille Amor

Singer/Songwriter, Philanthropist, Actor

Cofounder, E.P.I.C. (Everyday People Initiating Change)

Tennille Amor is a talented creative writer on varying platforms, a public speaker, and a recognized and respected leader. She is working directly with UN Women to promote Gender Equality through the United Nations, she is the co-founder of E.P.I.C. (Everyday People Initiating Change), drilling clean water wells and contributing to community growth and development in Tanzania, Africa, and was a global brand ambassador for Quiksilver Women for five years. Her debut album, “EVOLVE through LOVE,” will be released in the Spring of 2016, and includes the songs “Lion” and “I am a Girl.”


#LDUN Nilofar BakhtiarNilofar Bakhtiar

Lions Clubs Past International Director

Sawaan Valley Lions Club

In 1999, PID Nilofar Bakhtiar was elected as Lions Clubs International’s first female international director. A senator in Pakistan, she has worked tirelessly to improve the social status of women as well as health and education in her country.


jimmie-briggsJimmie Briggs


Executive Director Emeritus and Co-Founder, Man Up Campaign

Over the past two decades, Jimmie Briggs has earned a reputation as a respected human rights advocate in the field of journalism, lecturer and educator.

For his work with Man Up Campaign and the issue of violence against women, Briggs was selected as the winner of the 2010 GQ Magazine “Better Men Better World” Search, as well as one of Women’s eNews’ 21 Leaders for the 21st Century in 2011.


Debbie-CantrellDebbie Cantrell

Lebanon Host Lions Club

White House Champion of Change

Debbie Cantrell is a member of the Lebanon Host Lions Club and has been a Lion for more than 10 years. Since becoming a Lion, she has been trained to lead, be confident and take pride in the organization. She was extensively involved with relief and rebuilding efforts in Joplin, Mo., following the devastating F-5 tornado in May of 2011.


Ratna Choudhry

Lions Quest Senior Trainer

Ratna Choudhry is a Senior Trainer for Lions Quest, a Lions Clubs International Foundation youth education program built on the foundation of Social and Emotional Learning. She believes that young girls can be what they want to be and not try to fit into the stereotype that has been created for them by parents and society. She is based in Delhi, India.


katie-jo-jackson-croppedKatie Jackson

President, Sundre High Leo Club

Katie Jackson is a senior at Sundre High School in Sundre, Alberta, Canada, and the president of the Sundre High School Leo Club. As a charter member, she has been involved with Leos for four years. Last year, the club focused mainly on projects dealing with gender equality.


Ravi Karkara #LDUNRavi Karkara

Senior Adviser Strategic Partnership & Advocacy to the Assistant Secretary-General; Deputy Executive Director of UN-Women

Ravi Karkara is a trained social worker with commitment to advance human rights, participation, inclusion and gender equality, accountability and social justice. He has worked with several organizations on gender mainstreaming with a specific focus on children, youth and women.


Syed-Mahmood-KazmiSyed Mahmood Kazmi

Global Youth and Human Rights Activist

Syed Mahmood Kazmi is a Global Youth and Human Rights Activist advocating for the Women Rights, Gender Equality, Education and Peace & Security.

He is also a writer/blogger on topics including Youth Issues, Women Empowerment, Human Rights, Child Labor and Peace Initiatives.

osotimehin-babatundeDr. Babatunde Osotimehin

Executive Director, United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA)

Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin is a physician and public health expert, and holds the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. Prior positions include Nigeria’s Minister of Health and Director-General of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS.


LCIF Awards 21 Disaster Relief and Emergency Grants, February 2016

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When natural disasters strike, Lions are there to offer help and support. In times of need, Lions rely on disaster relief grants and funds from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). Emergency grants provide up to US$10,000 for districts impacted by a natural disaster that has affected at least 100 people, including tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and tsunamis.

In February 2016, LCIF awarded 21 emergency and disaster relief grants totaling US$205,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

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

Rep. of China, District 300-A1
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-A2Lions members pass relief supplies down the line
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-A3
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-B1
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-B2
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-C1
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-C2
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-C3
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-D1IMG_2455
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-D2
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-E1
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-E2
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-F
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-G1
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Rep. of China, District 300-G2
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

Alabama, USA, District 34-B
US$5,000 for tornado relief6kjfUwCq1-QmtwyjI-dUhzLkLjwY45ZsKXCco9OVUjU

Indonesia, District 307-A1
US$10,000 for flood relief

New Zealand, District 202-K
US$10,000 for cyclone relief

Florida, USA, District 35-L
US$10,000 for tornado relief

Virginia, USA, District 24-D
US$10,000 for tornado relief

Lions Touchstone Story: Earthquake in Japan

Touchstone Story: Earthquake in Japan

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After a devastating earthquake struck the east coast of Japan in March of 2011, Lions were on the front lines of the emergency rescue effort.

The scope of the disaster was almost unimaginable. The quake did damage, but the worst destruction came from the tsunami that followed: a more than 50-foot wall of seawater swept miles inland, wiping out entire towns as well as highways, airports and agricultural land.

More than 15,000 people died in the most destructive earthquake in Japan’s history, and hundreds of thousands lost their homes and all their possessions. Millions of Japanese lacked electricity, heat, food or clean water. To make matters worse, radiation from damaged nuclear power plants contaminated a broad swath of the region, forcing more people from their homes.

As international aid began pouring in, Lions in Japan and around the world contributed to the relief effort as early responders. The Lions Clubs International Foundation moved rapidly to provide funding for crucial services, eventually directing more than $21 million in disaster aid.

In Japan—home to more than 100,000 Lions in 3,200 clubs—Lions answered the call to serve. They turned the main Lions office in Tokyo into emergency relief headquarters and coordinated relief efforts via social media. Volunteer Lions from across Japan went to the stricken area, where they helped distribute food and supplies and assisted with evacuation efforts.

Within a day of the disaster, while highways remained closed and aftershocks continued to shake the region, Japanese clubs had distributed 20 tons of food, water and emergency supplies and set up blue Lions relief tents to house aid workers, “despite great risks and challenges to themselves,” said Past International President Eberhard J. Wirfs, who served as LCIF chairperson from 2010 to 2011.

“Lions across Japan sent us water and food,” said Masamitsu Kitamura, president of Hitachi Sakura Lions Club. Those contributions, he said at the time, “will mean the world to people who are spending time in darkness at shelters.”

Within days of the disaster, members of the New York Japanese-American Lions Club were on the streets of Manhattan collecting donations, raising $150,000 in contributions from generous New Yorkers. The club’s early donation was “critical to helping those in desperate need,” Wirfs told the New York club’s President Riki Ito in a letter.

Over time, Lions’ efforts to help ranged from purchasing major medical gear for struggling hospitals to delivering food and chopsticks to dislocated survivors.

Even as Lions helped with the immediate disaster relief, others were contributing to the reconstruction effort. In the port town of Ofunato, Lions helped restore jobs by providing cooking and refrigerating equipment that allowed the devastated food district to reopen.

With help, Japan was moving toward a distant recovery. Amid the devastation, Lions on the scene were “standing with dignity, and ready to help in the worst conditions,” said a member of the Odawara Lions Club.

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