Touchstone Story: Wave Upon Wave

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On Dec. 26, 2004, a 9.0-plus magnitude earthquake occurred under the Indian Ocean near the west coast of Sumatra in Indonesia. Within hours, a series of immense waves as high as 50 feet struck 11 countries along the rim of the Indian Ocean. More than 230,000 people lost their lives and more than one million people were displaced as a result of the South Asian tsunami—the deadliest in recorded history.

“The ocean took everything,” said Ranjan Jayawardane, a member of the Wellawatte West Lions Club in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Lions were among the first on the scene to provide help to victims, responding with their own waves of generosity and care. In Sri Lanka, Lions partnered with the government to organize aid, working 16-hour days to send supplies and put up tents at relocation camps. Eighty Lions in the medical profession volunteered to provide first aid near Chennai, India, while nearly 70 clubs distributed food and clothing. In Indonesia and Thailand, local clubs gave food, clothing, shelter and medical treatment to refugees.

Lions Clubs International Foundation also mobilized to send relief. LCIF had created disaster-response models following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York to help Lions act quickly when disaster strikes. The models estimate how much funding will be needed by analyzing the areas and numbers of people affected, current and future needs, how long recovery efforts are expected to last and other considerations. As soon as news of the tsunami reached LCIF, Lions put the models in place and started fundraising.

Lions raised US$15 million. Every dollar raised went to Lions in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand to help rebuild homes, schools and orphanages. At the time, it was the largest reconstruction effort in LCIF history.

“Some people had lost families, everything, but Lions stood by them,” said Sangeeta Jatia, past international director from Kolkata, West Bengal, and a member of the Calcutta Midtown Lions Club in India. “There was somebody who they could depend on.”

Long after the waves and initial shock had receded, Lions from around the world continued to pour out their time, energy and resources, helping to rebuild lives and entire communities.

Five years after the natural disaster, Luis Domínguez, past international director from the Mijas Lions Club in Mijas Pueblo, Spain, visited a village in Sri Lanka that Lions assisted in reconstructing. The community, known as “Lions Village” among local residents, was blossoming once again—with new houses, a playground and community center, and sewing machines to help jumpstart economic development.

“What can I say about happy children?” Domínguez said, watching carefree children enjoy their new playground. “I will leave it to your imagination.”

Read the entire collection of Touchstone Stories at!


LCIF Awards 10 Emergency Grants, November 2016

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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 that has affected at least 100 people, 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.

In November 2016, LCIF awarded 10 emergency grants totaling US$100,000. These grants are addressing immediate needs in:

Florida, USA, District 35-N
US$10,000 for hurricane relief

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

Thailand, District 310-A1
US$10,000 for flood relief

Thailand, District 310-D
US$10,000 for flood relief

Arizona, USA, District 21-B 
US$10,000 for flood relief

New Zealand, District 202-E
US$10,000 for earthquake relief

South Carolina, USA, District 32-C
US$10,000 for hurricane relief

North Carolina, USA, District 31-L
US$10,000 for wildfire relief

Dominican Republic, District R-2
US$10,000 for flood relief

Tennessee, USA, District 12-N
US$10,000 for wildfire relief

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

Donate to LCIF


LCIF and Lions Respond to the Banda Aceh Earthquake

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On Wednesday, December 7, 2016, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck the Aceh province of Indonesia. More than 100 people have died and the death toll is expected to rise. Search and rescue efforts are underway.

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) responded immediately. District 307-A2 has received a US$10,000 Emergency grant to help with immediate relief activities. Multiple District 307 has also received a US$100,000 Major Catastrophe grant for the provision of both immediate- and long-term relief and reconstruction.

Please consider making a donation to LCIF’s disaster relief fund so that Lions can continue offering this critical aid.

Donate to LCIF


Message from the Chairperson: LCIF and Lions are Making the World a Better Place

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Dear Lions,

We have seen many amazing advancements throughout our lives. We have walked on the moon, we have phones that guide us when we are lost and we have robots that perform intricate surgeries. Yet, we still see hundreds of children die every single day from a vaccine-preventable disease.

Measles is a highly contagious disease. Those that survive are often left with serious complications, including brain damage, hearing loss and blindness. Too many children are lost to a disease that we can prevent. For about US$1, a simple vaccine provides immunity against measles. That is why we Lions committed to raising US$30 million for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, by 2017. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) will match our contributions, for a total of up to US$60 million mobilized for the fight against measles.

Over the next year, we will need to raise approximately US$10 million to fulfill our promise to the world’s children. I am asking each and every Lion to renew your dedication to the fight against this deadly disease. Together, we have vaccinated millions of children. But the work is not done and we cannot rest until it is. Please make a donation today to LCIF’s measles fund so that no more families have to endure the heartbreaking loss of a child to measles.


Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada
Chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation

Read the rest of the LCIF newsletter online.


Safeguarding a Nation: Lions Address Measles in Botswana

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When Leganne Matlho’s eldest son fell sick at the age of 10 with a high temperature and “sores all over his body,” his mother did not at first realize how serious the situation could become.

She had heard of measles – children in her town in northern Botswana had died from it in the past. But for a day or two she waited before taking Titoga to a clinic, where doctors prescribed immediate treatment and told her that she had been lucky he had not deteriorated faster.

“I was so frightened that some illness he can catch without me knowing could have caused him to be blind, or even to die, very quickly,” Matlho says, sitting in the shade of her swept yard where tomatoes, kale and lettuce grow in neat lines in the sandy soil. “It was only after that I came to realize that there is a protection against this disease in the form of an injection, something Titoga did not get. Since that day that my son was sick, all of my children have been vaccinated.”

Leganne Matlho holds her 15-month-old daughter, Piwane

Leganne Matlho holds her 15-month-old daughter, Piwane

Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has committed to raising US$30 million for vaccinations by 2017, a sum that partners will match. The LCIF partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, focuses on support of routine immunization and strengthening health systems to help prevent serious outbreaks of disease. By 2020, more than 700 million children in 49 countries are expected to be immunized against measles and rubella thanks to Gavi and its partners, including Lions.

For this particular campaign in Botswana, LCIF helped fund 3,500 bright orange hats for campaign volunteers, 10,000 posters and 100,000 information flyers to be given out in schools and clinics, training workshops, and ID badges for those helping out on the actual vaccination days. Across the country, Lions helped to hire public address systems, truck trailers and even arrange motorcades of vehicles to take messages about the looming immunization drive directly to the people.

“Nowadays people do not know how dangerous the illness can be, because no one has seen it for so long,” she says. “I am one of the few, and I make sure that I tell everyone I see that they need to vaccinate their children. It is something easy to do, but it can mean the difference between life and death.”

Read the full article here.


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