Lions – My year as your International President is coming to an end, and I’m spending these last few moments continuing to meet new Lions and learn more about what we’re doing around the world.
Last week I was in Bosnia, visiting an emergency center that is also used for educating doctors in Bosnia and surrounding countries. This facility has been supported by LCIF and the Lions of MD105 for the last 18 years since the war ended. Above is a photo of the communication system consisting of 10 telephones and personal mobiles. What a passionate, caring team of individuals who truly make a difference in people’s lives every day!
I’m currently in Toronto, gearing up for the Lions International Convention. I’m looking forward to seeing many of you here!
This past year has been an amazing one. As Chairperson of Lions Clubs International Foundation, I had the honor of visiting some of your LCIF grant projects around the world. And, I saw that you are changing many lives. The world is a better place because of your efforts to make a difference. I would like to share with you some accomplishments in each of LCIF’s service areas, written below.
Without you, there would be more children at risk for bullying in schools; more people would lose their vision due to diseases like trachoma; more children would die each year from measles; and there would be less support for people in need following disasters. Together, we can continue meeting needs around the world.
Thank you for your support of our Foundation.
Wayne A. Madden
Chairperson, Lions Clubs International Foundation
LCIF’s Lions Quest program has impacted more than 13 million students around the world through social and emotional learning. As a renowned program for positive life skills for youth, our partners are taking notice – NoVo Foundation recently provided a US$300,000 grant to support Lions Quest.
Lions Quest is also revising its printed curriculum. The resulting curriculum products will be more modern and relevant to issues facing today’s youth, like bullying and career readiness. The revised program is scheduled to be ready in 2015.
At last year’s convention, LCIF partnered with the GAVI Alliance and committed to raising US$30 million for measles vaccinations by our 100th anniversary in 2017. During the month of April, Lions had some exciting measles activities. World Immunization Week this year was a big success around the world. And in just April, Lions raised US$1.3 million for measles vaccinations with support from Abhey and Past District Governor and Board Appointee Aruna Oswal. And Lions were on the ground in local communities, educating people about measles, supporting vaccination campaigns and spreading awareness.
Lions and LCIF are committed to saving sight and preventing blindness where needed most. In China, blinding trachoma has affected eye health for many people. Through LCIF SightFirst grants, our Foundation is supporting the effort towards elimination of trachoma as a public health concern by 2016.
The fight against trachoma and other eye diseases expands around the world. In May 2014, Lions Clubs International leadership and the Lions of Georgia (USA) joined former U.S. President and Lion Jimmy Carter in a signing ceremony to commemorate an expansion of the Lions-Carter Center SightFirst Initiative addressing the major causes of preventable blindness in Ethiopia, Uganda, Mali and Niger. This partnership also helped celebrate the elimination of river blindness in Colombia last year, a major milestone.
Numerous disaster relief grants have been awarded throughout the world to address flooding, wildfires, tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides and other natural disasters. One notable disaster was Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. LCIF quickly mobilized tents, water filtration units and millions in donations to support those affected. And, Lions remain on the ground assisting their communities by rebuilding homes.
In addition to disaster relief, LCIF provided many grants for Lions’ projects to support local communities. Projects that provided needed hospital equipment, built centers for blind and disabled community members, purchased mobile health units, constructed schools for children in developing countries and more changed the lives of approximately 6.73 million people in the past year!
My name is David Galloway of the Springhill Lions Club in Springhill, Nova Scotia, Canada. I just wanted to shine light on a campaign I recently created, Opening Eyes for Baby Georgia. Last month, I walked blindfolded while guided by a fellow Lion for six days over two mountains from Springhill, Nova Scotia to Truro, Nova Scotia, covering 100 kilometers. The campaign was created to bring awareness and financial support to a family I grew up with in Truro: the Langilles.
Georgia Langille was born blind and deaf. Shortly after being born, while trying to find the route of severe multiple daily seizures, it was discovered that she had a congenital disorder called CDG1a. This rare disorder prevents the liver from creating enzymes that break food down to protein for muscle/organ development. This will prevent Georgia from eating solid food, and requires a special diet currently costing over CAD$500 per month.
As Georgia grows, so will her medical expenses. She will need a special oversized supportive wheelchair as her underdeveloped organs and muscles will prevent Georgia from walking or sitting up unassisted. She will need transfer devices, and the house will need to be remodeled to support these new needs. The family will need a new vehicle to transport the special chair.
Because this disorder is so rare, many of these expenses are not covered by the Langilles’ insurance. Georgia’s mother had to leave her job to provide the care her daughter needs and deserves.
That’s when Lions stepped in.
Our campaign had a goal to create as much awareness to the family and bring the community together. As I finished my six-day blindfolded walk with fellow Lion Jennie Maie Smith, we joined the Nova Scotia Provincial Lions conference in Truro to share the campaign. At this time, our campaign collected over CAD$10,000 in donations from clubs all over our province.
It was at this stage of the campaign that I truly understood what it meant to be a Lion.
From Truro, my guide and I continued to an organized community walk. Many walkers pre-registered and collected donations from sponsors. At the end of the campaign, we tallied up our collection and donated over CAD$14,000 on behalf of the campaign, my local Lions club and all clubs across the province. We have continued to receive donations and have brought the total to over CAD$16,000.
Please take a minute to visit our Facebook page to see photos of our journey, and watch the video above to learn about the precious baby we helped.
Lions Clubs International Foundation’s commitment to disaster relief goes back to its very beginning, when the first grant ever awarded was to provide flood relief in South Dakota, USA. Whenever and wherever disasters strike, Lions are often among the first to offer aid—and LCIF is right there with them, ready to support their efforts with funding assistance through Lions disaster relief programs.
What comes to mind when you think of LCIF and disaster relief?
LCIF is proud of all that Lions are able to accomplish worldwide! Learn more about the ways that LCIF can help Lions provide disaster relief on the LCIF website.
This article was written by District 202K DG-elect Marian Andrews and originally appeared in the South Pacific Lion Magazine. Thanks for sharing, Lion Marian!
District 202K adds something unique to Lions Clubs International with four women leading the district in succession.
In the 2012-13 Lions year, the district’s first woman was District Governor Robyn Walker from the Whangarei Hatea Lions Club. This year, District Governor Christine Ford is from Bucklands Beach, followed by Marian Andrews, a member of Waipapa & District Lions, then Deidre Bridge from Eden-Epsom club.
These women are great examples of where women can go in the organization, and each one of them has made it this far –not because they are women, but because they have the ability to do the job.
Women make up the fastest growing demographic within Lions Clubs International. Since women represent 51% of the world’s population, shouldn’t they constitute a similar percentage of Lions worldwide membership?
Working toward this goal is a critical part of creating diversity, adding new perspective to club activities, expanding Lions’ overall membership and meeting the growing service challenges in a world that needs Lions’ help more than ever.
All clubs can benefit from inviting women to join them. Women are hard workers and can be an asset to any organization, so why not Lions Clubs?
Hold a meeting for women in your area; it could be the best thing your club has ever done.
Lions around the world work on projects aimed at protecting our environment. Our film crew visited Nagoya, Japan, to see how Lions there lead the way in keeping…
Around the world, many of our clubs focus on projects that meet the needs of youth. We sent a video crew to Morocco to see how Lions there…
We’re always looking for new ways to extend our reach and share what we are doing around the world to meet community needs. Beginning in October, passengers on…
Our clubs do so much more than collect used eyeglasses. We feed the hungry, we help identify vision problems through screenings and we improve the communities we live…