Supplies for Students in the Philippines

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At the beginning of August, the Dasmarinas Lions Club in the Philippines participated in an Adopt-a-School program. Students received books and other various school supplies, as well as bags to carry their new stuff. An example of a project for Engaging Our Youth.

As we come upon our centennial year, Lions all over the world are taking part in a challenge—the Centennial Service Challenge—where they strive to serve 100 million people by 2017. Make sure to record your club’s project on MyLCI so we know just how many people we are helping. Clubs are encouraged to post pictures of their activity on their Facebook page or other social media sites and use the hashtag #LIONS100, that way other clubs can see the impact you’re making in your community.

What type of project is your club doing to Engage Our Youth?

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Lions Clubs International

Preston’s Blog: World Sight Day in Iceland

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The right tools make all the difference.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the opening ceremony of Lions World Sight Day in Iceland alongside the President of Iceland, Ólafur Grímsson (pictured above). As a part of the ceremony, and with the help of a US$70,000 SightFirst grant from Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), Lions presented two amazing new pieces of medical equipment to the Department of Ophthalmology at Landspítali, the National University Hospital of Iceland.

This vision equipment will make it possible for ophthalmologists at Landspítali to detect and treat vision disorders and diseases in children at a much earlier stage, and will save time and money and prevent many children from developing irreversible eye damage.

Lions Clubs International

The opening ceremony was followed by an exhibition that was attended by more than 2,800 people, including 60% of all ophthalmologists in Iceland, and featured information on vision health and education. Lions from Iceland and around the world came out to showcase their clubs and share their service work with a special emphasis on SightFirst activities.

For decades, Lions Clubs International has championed the blind and visually impaired. Lions World Sight Day is an opportunity to reflect on our achievements as we continue to fight against preventable blindness. Only when working together can we hope to eliminate preventable blindness from our communities and around the world.

Join me in thanking the Lions of Iceland and LCIF for making this generous donation possible, and for making World Sight Day 2014 a huge success!


Be sure to follow me on Facebook to see more activities, projects and pictures from my trips around the world.

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Reducing the Global Threat of Measles

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“We are delighted that Lions Clubs International is becoming more involved in the fight against measles and strengthening routine immunization. With its worldwide outreach, Lions is an important partner in ensuring that safe and effective vaccines reach families who need them most.” –Dr. Walt Orenstein, Deputy Director, Vaccine Delivery, Gates Foundation

A partnership poised to defeat the disease

Although measles is a highly contagious viral disease, it is widely prevented in developed countries through routine vaccinations. However, the disease remains a heavy public-health burden in the developing world. Measles is also a major cause of preventable blindness, particularly among children. While the reduction in global measles mortality has been declining overall, UNICEF predicts that 1.7 million children could die from the disease in the next 3 years without further action. That’s not a reality that Lions care to see come true.

LCIF and Lions are committed to fighting measles and its devastating side effects, including childhood blindness. LCIF joins a network of other humanitarian leaders through the Measles Initiative, a worldwide effort to protect children from measles and strengthen routine immunization services. UNICEF, World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Red Cross, and the United Nations Foundation are among the organizations contributing to these efforts since 2001. The pilot year (2010-2011) involvement from Lions focused on three main areas: 1) advocacy at the local, regional and national levels; 2) direct involvement in social marketing; and 3) financial support. In addition to supporting vaccinations, of key importance to LCIF is strengthening immunization delivery systems to help ensure sustainability in combating the disease.

Reaching 41 million in the first year

To support this project, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded LCIF a grant of US$400,000, and LCIF added to those funds an additional US$300,000 in the pilot year. The Gates Foundation is a leader in addressing global health issues, particularly those often given little attention in developing countries. Focusing on measles vaccination campaigns in Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mali and Nigeria, Lions and their partners increased vaccination coverage for children ages nine to 47 months old, serving a total of more than 41 million children.

“The Measles Initiative is very excited and optimistic about our new partnership with Lions. Lions, with members in many Measles Initiative priority countries, can provide an extremely valuable combination of social mobilization and organizational capability with political advocacy that complement our other partner organization activities,” said Andrea Gay, Executive Director of Children’s Health, United Nations Foundation.

The Challenge Grant

The Gates Foundation is now challenging Lions to mobilize US$10 million. To help Lions in this effort, the Gates Foundation is donating US$1 for every $2 raised by Lions. This is a total matching contribution of US$5 million, the largest single donation in LCIF’s history! Together, LCIF and the Gates Foundation will provide a total of US$15 million to fight measles this year.

Through this challenge and through the Measles Initiative, 157 million children will be vaccinated this year. To support LCIF and the One Shot, One Life: Lions Measles Initiative, please donate online. Contributions are eligible for Melvin Jones Fellowship recognition.

“The Gates Foundation is very proud to have been a partner in your early measles projects, and we’re excited to continue working together… If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. With Lions in the lead, there is no telling how far we will go together,” said Bill Gates, Sr., Co-chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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LCIF Provides Emergency Funds for Cyclone Hudhud in India

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LCIF logoOn Sunday, October 12, a cyclone struck India in District 316-A causing severe damage in the Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh. It is reported that more than 400,000 people have been affected with 24 people are confirmed dead. Approximately 6,500 homes have been destroyed and 90,000 people have been relocated to temporary relief camps.

In response to this disaster, Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) has awarded a US$100,000 Major Catastrophe Grant (MCAT) to District 316-A for cyclone relief efforts in the wake of Cyclone Hudhud following heavy rains and excessive flooding. Lions will use these funds to meet immediate needs by providing food, water, medicine, blankets and clothing. The funds will also support long-term reconstruction and recovery.

“Thank you for the Major Catastrophe Grant awarded to District 316-A for Cyclone Hudhud which has caused so much damage,” said LCIF Steering Committee Vice Chairperson and Past District Governor Aruna Oswal in an email to LCIF. “This has given a boost to the Lions of the district to do their relief work. As we Lions always come forward to help whenever any calamity happens in any part of the world, I am proud to be associated with LCIF.”

There are extensive power outages limiting communication and the resulting flooding is further complicating local relief efforts. At present, there are 40 Lions Clubs working with local relief agencies to manage the most urgent needs among those displaced.

“Your noble and timely gesture to those most affected by Cyclone Hudhud is unforgettable. It proves our slogan: ‘where there is a need there is a Lion,'” said District Governor Dasari Thirumala Rao of District 316-A in an email to LCIF.

For information on how to make a donation for disaster relief, or to make a donation online please visit the LCIF website.

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International White Cane Safety Day

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In honor of today being International White Cane Safety Day, we are encouraging Lions to help raise awareness about the white cane. The white cane is a symbol of independence —it shows confidence and skills of the person using it. It also signifies that a person using a white cane is blind or visually impaired. This alerts drivers to give white cane users the right of way. Some project ideas that your club can do to help raise awareness include:

  • Contact your local traffic department to learn about local White Cane Safety laws. Use social media, local radio, television or news media to share the information with your community.
  • Work with a rehabilitation specialist to provide a white cane and appropriate training for a person in your community who is in need.
  • Organize a braille trail or sensory garden outing for adults who use a white cane.
  • Arrange for a person who uses a white cane to be a guest presenter at a community or club event.

The Hadley School for the Blind is conducting a live seminar about the White Cane at 10:00 CDT today (October 15). If you are able to participate at that time, be sure to register for the audio seminar. If unable to listen to this seminar live, you can access the recording of this and other interesting Hadley podcasts.

How is your club raising awareness for white cane safety?

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LQ: Lions-Supported Milk Bank Saves Lives

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The projects your clubs coordinate are as diverse as the 1.35 million Lions around the world. When we traveled to Uruguay to capture this episode of LQ, we…

LQ: Lions Improve the Lives of Children with Autism

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

One of the exciting aspects of being a member of a Lions club is that you can help your club decide how to improve your community. In Penang, Malaysia,…

LQ: Lions in India Foster the Kids of Prisoners

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our clubs fill the needs of communities around the world, ranging from providing training to at-risk teens to securing access to clean water. In India, Lions work to ensure…

Lions in California Work with the Community to Beautify a School

Friday, February 17, 2012

Our Lion and Leo clubs work to improve their communities in 206 countries and geographic areas around the world. The Downtown Long Beach Lions Club partnered with community…