Clerson Nacimento, 13, and Windson Randrei, 12, lived on the streets of Recife, a large Brazilian city with white-sand beaches and squalid slums. The streets offered a grim daily reality of drugs and drug dealers, random violence, petty theft, hunger and, perhaps most tragic of all, an utter lack of guidance and love.
Brazilian Lions wanted to give these children a chance at life. With the assistance of an LCIF US$75,000 standard/matching grant, the Street Children Center was constructed in 2001. Two years later, the Foundation gave a US$60,000 grant for expansion so the center could accommodate 50 children instead of 23. The Street Children Center includes a dormitory, dining room, classrooms and exercise room—it’s a safe haven for children who have lived lives of chaos. Thanks to LCIF and Lions, thousands of young people around the world, like Nacimento and Randrei, have been given the opportunity live, learn and begin to dream about their futures. But there are still countless more children who need our help.
With the Street Children Center to call home, Nacimento and Randrei began to feel hopeful and cared about after years of neglect. Once destined for prison or an early death, they now are beginning to enjoy being kids for the first time and are looking forward to becoming productive citizens. After being at the Street Children Center for just one month, Nacimento said, “I want to be a doctor. The street is so bad. I want to tell the other street children to come here so they can stop suffering.” Added Randrei, “I love it here. We go on day trips to the beach and to the museums. We play. We even have tea time. I would like to thank Lions for this opportunity.”
From LCIF: Our Impact Story Archives
While many think of charity as harmless acts of altruism and good intentions, Binod Chaudhary, a Nepalese businessman, philanthropist and founder of the Chaudhary Group Foundation, sees it as a stumbling block to philanthropy–a way to use money to make problems disappear without addressing the fundamental issues.
But Chaudhary and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) have a solution: microenterprise. At the 97th Lions Clubs International Convention, LCIF Chairperson Wayne Madden and the LCI executive officers signed a memorandum of understanding pledging US$200,000 to support the Chaudhary Group Foundation’s microenterprise pilot, Nepal Social Business.
“We share a vision of a better world without poverty,” said Chaudhary, “where everybody has access to health service, education and employment, and where socially critical and green businesses promoted by bright and young ideas become self-sustainable enterprises.”
The funds from LCIF, together with an existing US$1 million contribution from the Chaudhary Group, will help Nepal Social Business provide aspiring social business entrepreneurs with resources and training to build successful businesses (a process called incubation). Once developed, Chaudhary believes these businesses will spur growth in their local economies, making a positive impact on some of the most vulnerable regions and populations in the developing nation.
As part of the initial pilot program, the Chaudhary Group Foundation selected six projects at various stages of development to receive support. Pilot projects range from eco-tourism development and environmental management, to educational centers and even an organic manufacturing cooperative, and all share a deep commitment to addressing social issues in their communities.
“Our vision is to create 5,000 such businesses in Nepal within the next five years and thereby to change the lives of thousands of unemployed youth through the creation of social businesses,” said Chaudhary. “I’m truly privileged to sign this path-breaking agreement between Chaudhary Foundation and the Lions Club International Foundation.”
Local Lions will be involved in Nepal Social Business projects at all levels of operation. From selection through incubation and eventual launch, Nepal Social Business will call on the local Lions’ depth of knowledge and experience to provide guidance and mentorship to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Whether as on-the-ground support–organizing facilities and acting as first contact for potential partners–as a part of specialized advisory boards, or even as coaches and mentors for entrepreneurs, Lions will be the heart and soul of a partnership that hopes to make the dreams of young Nepalese entrepreneurs a reality.
*This story by Eric Margules is from the October 2014 edition of LION Magazine.
Our social media team here at Lions Clubs International headquarters often features clubs’ photos and stories on the official Lions Facebook page. If you’d like to see your club on our page, here are a few ways to get your club’s project featured.
If your club does not have a Facebook page, we encourage your club secretary to create one. Be sure to follow the LCI Facebook page. Post photos or videos on your page of your club in action at a recent service activity, and describe how you’re helping the community. As we go through our news feed each day, we’ll share interesting photos and projects from clubs’ pages to our own page. We will not accept stories or photos shared to us through Facebook private messaging or through comments.
Another way for you to submit your projects to us is through the Lions Blog. These posts are then shared on all of our social media channels.
We would love to share your story on the blog. The types of stories we are looking for are short, first-person stories that share personal experiences.
If you are interested in submitting to the blog, check out the Lions Blog Contributor Guidelines for more information.
Submit a Photo is a way for you to share pictures of projects and events held by your Lions club. We review these photos on a daily basis, and many of them end up being shared on our social media channels, including Facebook, the blog and Flickr.
To acquire permission to publish photos taken by your club, download the Photo/Video Authorization Form or Child Photo/Video Authorization Form. Are you interested in sharing a club project? You can Submit Your Story by filling out the Project Details form.
While we would love to help you get the word out about your project, with thousands of clubs worldwide, it would be nearly impossible to promote each club’s events at the local level. We suggest posting the events to your club’s page.
By posting your success stories, you can help motivate other Lions to tackle a project similar to yours in their own community. Keep up the good work, Lions.
Are you interested in the coordination and management of productive Lions meetings? Join your fellow Lions for the always popular Effective Club Meetings webinar. We will review the basics of good meeting management including:
This training will give you the practical tools and strategies to conduct efficient meetings and therefore increase club effectiveness and member satisfaction. And, the skills and tools discussed apply to a Lions meeting at any level–club, district, zone, or region. So, therefore, the Effective Meetings webinar is intended for any Lion who attends, or conducts, a Lions meeting—all of us!
Register today for one of the time slots below:
Lions can make a big difference in the lives of people with intellectual disabilities. In Australia, the Inner Sydney West Special Olympics Lions Club is exemplifying the partnership between Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Special Olympics.
LCIF has been partnering with Special Olympics since 2001 through the Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes vision screening program. Now, the partnership’s efforts are having a much wider reach.
Called “Mission: Inclusion,” the partnership expansion is creating leadership opportunities for Special Olympics athletes, increasing the health work of Special Olympics, and conducting outreach to families for additional support. Both organizations can now reach more young people through inclusive sports and advocacy programs in an effort to achieve full acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in their communities.
Athletes and Lions club members like Jamie Elvie know the true value of inclusion:
“Through Lions, [athletes] will develop skills in organization, goal setting and managing their time. Most importantly, though, they will have the pleasure of helping others. Rather than being the recipient of charity they will be able to dispense it and discover the rewards of knowing that you are contributing to your community,” said Elvie.
Elvie joined the Inner Sydney West Special Olympics Lions Club of Australia four years ago. He has been a member of Special Olympics since 2009: first as an athlete in several sports, and now through managing athletes at ten-pin bowling.
“I was already involved with the local Special Olympics and it was a logical move to join a Lions club that had a focus on helping Special Olympics,” said Elvie.
Through this specialty club, a variety of Lions’ projects support people in need both locally and globally. At the same time, the club focuses on Special Olympics on the regional and national levels. This focus gives Elvie and other Special Olympic members a chance to work with their fellow Lions on what the Special Olympic athletes need, as well as address the community on Lions clubs and Special Olympics, encouraging support for both.
“Many of the club members are also long-term members of Special Olympics, either as athletes or as parents/care-givers of athletes and consequently have strong understanding of how Special Olympics operates and a keen interest in seeing the organization well supported,” said Elvie.
Tony Moore, president of the Inner Sydney West Special Olympics Lions Club, is grateful for how the members contribute to the club’s activities.
“There is no difference between Special Olympic athlete members and other members. The only distinction is that they have unique insights into Special Olympics and the needs of athletes which, as a club, we tap into,” said Moore.
Formed in 2009, the Inner Sydney West Special Olympics Lions Club of Australia truly exemplifies Mission: Inclusion.
“The objective is to provide developmental opportunities for the athletes and to ensure that the athletes are represented and have a voice in decision making,” said Moore. “From experience we know the value athletes bring to an organization, whether through their various skills or their capacity to present to the public or through their enormous enthusiasm and commitment.”
For more information about special interest clubs for Special Olympics, visit the Lions Clubs International website. Visit the Special Olympics website to learn more about the organization and its efforts.
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