Check out how Lions around the world are making headlines by serving their communities.
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Starting off the Lions Worldwide Week of Service in May, the First Miskolc Lions Club in Hungary organized an event to serve children in need. A carnival was held for blind and visually impaired children and their families. They received balloon animals made by a clown, watched a puppet show, listened to music and more. There were over 20 children in attendance for this event. Follow the First Miskolc Lions on Facebook for more pictures and information on this project.
Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital in far northeast India, in the foothills of the Himalayas, has one of the first dedicated pediatric eye care centers in north Bengal. The facility is equipped to address both common and major pediatric eye disorders, including refractive error, childhood cataract, glaucoma, amblyopia, squint, retinal disorders, congenital abnormalities, and more. For several years, the hospital has been a Sight for Kids (SFK) program site, providing community outreach and teacher training, in-school screenings for students, eye doctor referrals and treatment. The needy students referred often receive their first comprehensive eye exam and treatment, ranging from free eyeglasses to free or greatly reduced-cost eye surgery.
Ms. Ety S. is a local school teacher at Dakshin Santi Nagar Hindi Primary School. Aside from teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, Ms. Ety and local Lions are also trained to deliver SFK vision screenings to her students. Over the past two years, Ms. Ety has coordinated 44 school screening camps in concert with Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital. Altogether, she has screened more than 4,800 local children and referred 442 on for comprehensive eye examinations and treatment.
One of the recent children Ms. Ety referred was a 10-year old girl named Suman. Young Suman already faced challenges, having only one eye, and was in need of eyeglasses to preserve her limited sight. During a Sight for Kids screening, Ms. Ety referred Suman and her parents to Siluguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital for an exam and to receive the new eyeglasses she needed at no cost.
“Many local children are suffering from eye problems,” explains Ms. Ety. “Unless they go through such screening, they do not know or seek treatment. This kind of program can really save the sight of children which is a big contribution for her schooling, her family and for society.”
SKF West Bengal’s successes are more than just a local effort. Since 2011, the program has also received additional generous funds from the Ultimo- and Melbourne-area, Australia office staff of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care teams through sausage sizzles, raffles, coupon books, 5K runs and personal donations. Each year, these dedicated “Sight for Kids Champions” raise several thousand AU$ to benefit the SFK West Bengal program. Through their efforts, they ensure that many more children like Suman receive much needed SFK community outreach and eye care from the program’s local optometrists network.
This is part of an ongoing LCIF blog series on the Sight for Kids program, one of LCIF’s largest and longest running partnership programs helping to provide eye care access to underserved students around the world. Sight for Kids is made possible through the dedicated support of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Companies, its dedicated global employees and Lions club volunteers. Please be sure to subscribe or else visit www.lcif.org/sfk for ongoing program updates.
Every story worth telling has a hero, a villain and a message. It may tell us about specific people, but it teaches us something about what we all are really like. The villain of this story is someone we cannot even understand. The motives of Nature will forever be beyond our comprehension.
The elevated land of Nepal is one of exceptional beauty. This same land that has made the country famous has now made its people pay an insufferable price.
Over 7,000 people have left us. Over 100,000 have been stolen of a home. Over 10,000 recover from injury. They spent their lives building a home; they worked to support a family. Many of them have lost both. Their life’s work has been taken away by a moment of Nature’s anger.
Now, their first struggle is simply to survive. Clean water and food are in short supply. The street is the only bed and the stars are the only blanket.
The heroes of this story are among us. Since the need arose, Lions have risen. The Lions of Nepal, captained by PCC Sanjay Khetan, MCC Bharat Dhugal & many more leaders have led the charge. Lions are working day and night. Every day, we are saving lives in Nepal. We are also giving hope for a new life.
Lions are distributing food, water, clothes, sanitary ware etc. The queues for these items are very long and full of tension. The people realize that surviving the aftermath of an earthquake is as difficult as surviving the event itself. Life in Nepal still hangs in a very delicate balance.
LCIF sent immediately $100,000 for Emergency relief. Donations have come from Lions across the world. Some have pledged money, others have shipped basic necessities. A team of Lions in England sent a plane full of water purifiers. The team of Lions on the ground is doing their best to stretch every dollar for maximum effect. Every donation will make a difference.
24 hours after the quake, almost all Nepali troops and police were deployed. They received radars from the French Army that detect human breathing. Soon, a 4 month old baby was pulled from under his collapsed home. For this baby, there is still hope. We shall give him a reason to live.
120 hours later, civilians continued to dig through the remains of a flattened hotel. Nearby, a foreign medical center still kept a set of ambulances with emergency first aid. It seemed like they were digging for a cemetery rather than for a rescue. However, all of a sudden, a stray dog barked. Something was breathing beneath the rubble. A few minutes later, a teenage employee of the hotel was pulled out alive. The ambulance gave him an intra-venous injection. After 5 days on the brink, his eyes finally opened. For him, there is still hope.
The average victim has lost his home and a large part of his family. However, he still reaches out to contact relatives who may still be alive. He gathers his belongings in a bag and wonders how he could make money. He lies down on the street corner to get some rest in the night before battling the next day. There is still hope in his heart.
Mt. Everest is only a few hundred kilometers north of Kathmandu. It’s 8.6 kilometers (5 miles) shook that day, causing avalanches that immediately killed 17 climbers. In 1924, the British Empire had sent their renowned explorer, George Mallory, to make the first serious attempt to conquer the world’s tallest peak. When asked why he would make such a massive effort to climb the mountain, Mr. Mallory replied, “Because it’s there”.
Our task is very similar. Why should we make such a massive effort to help the survivors? Because they are there. Because they are still alive. And it’s also because we are here. On the same planet. The same things make us smile and laugh. We just need to share the happiness. Together, we will make Nepal smile again.
On March 12, 2015, Cyclone Pam struck the island nation of Vanuatu. One of the worst disasters to ever strike the island, Cyclone Pam damaged or destroyed thousands of homes, schools and buildings, and displaced more than 3,000 people. Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) awarded a US$10,000 Emergency grant to help meet immediate needs and provide food, water, clothing and blankets.
Shortly thereafter, LCIF awarded a US$100,000 Disaster grant to address more long-term needs. With the help of these grants and donations from Lions aroundthe world, the Lions of Vanuatu have been hard at work rebuilding their communities. In partnership with New Caledonia’s Solidarity Tanna, Lions of Vanuatu continue to provide critical aid to the cyclone victims. Every day, Lions are teaching people how to purify their drinking water and transporting and distributing food. They are providing much-needed medicine and rebuilding schools. Aside from their relief work, local clubs continue to carry out their traditional community service projects like distributing dictionaries to local schoolchildren.
From initial impact through long-term reconstruction, LCIF and Lions are committed to disaster relief. And the Lions of Vanuatu are a prime example of that!
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