Lions around the world have an incredible knack for identifying needs within their communities and creating projects to meet those needs. The Lions Club of Bangalore East is no exception.
Each year, more than 1,200 children are born with significant hearing impairment in the state of Karnataka. If a child is identified, screened and fit with a hearing aid by 6 months of age, that child has good chance of leading a life free from hearing impairment. But without early intervention, that child is at risk of developing serious speech and hearing problems. Hearing and speech disorders can have devastating effects on education, employment and social interactions for children and adults.
In 1977, the Lions assisted with the establishment of the Dr. S. R. Chandrasekhar Institute of Speech and Hearing, and have actively supported it since that time. More recently, the Lions of Bangalore East and the Dr. S. R. Chandrasekhar Institute of Speech and Hearing teamed up to create a mobile speech and hearing clinic to benefit under-served families. A Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) Standard grant of US$75,000 funded a portion of the project. The clinic is equipped with advanced testing equipment and other modern technology, and offers comprehensive hearing evaluations, treatment and consultation services.
Of the 1.2 million children born in Karnataka every year, it is estimated that less than 10 percent are born in corporate hospitals with facilities for hearing screening and intervention. Given this information, the Lions’ primary objective is to provide hearing screenings and early intervention services to newborns. The unit does serve older children and adults, as well. The bus also is available to other local Lions clubs to use in their own mobile screening projects.
Two weeks ago, Joni and I were in Savona, Italy and we got to take part in many culturally rich events. We saw some breathtaking art and participated in a ceremonial wreath laying at the WWI memorial. We also were able to join the Lions of Savona as they introduced us to their preservation projects.
For many years, Lions Clubs all over Italy have “adopted” a work of art and funded it’s restoration and proper upkeep. But not only are they dedicated to protecting their local art and culture, they are also committed to saving eyesight, and they’re mobile, too! The Lions in Savona have a mobile vision screening unit, a glaucoma detection van and a van to collect used eyeglasses. Whether it’s preserving art, culture, religious heritage or eyesight, the Lions of Italy truly answer the call to serve!
Next month we celebrate Lions Recycle for Sight. Lions all over are busy organizing projects and setting up collection boxes. Are you ready?
Be sure to follow me on Facebook to see more activities, projects and pictures from my trips around the world.
1. Leos and Lions from around the world
At the Leo Luau, you will make friends and connect with Leos and Lions across the globe.
2. Delicious Food
[Photo credit flickr: stuart_spivak]
Luau attendees will dine on delicious Hawaiian food including poi, lomi salmon, kalua pork, and haupia.
3. The Polynesian Show
[Photo credit Old Lahaina Luau Show]
Feast your eyes on a showcase of dances from throughout the Pacific – including Tahiti, Hawaii, New Zealand and Samoa.
4. Fire Dancers
[Photo credit flickr: louis leib]
Bask in the spectacle and glow of the daring Samoan fire knife dance.
5. International President Joe Preston
[Photo credit YouTube: LCICon]
Lions International President Preston challenges you to put on your Hawaiian shirt and share a video with the hashtag #LCICon on social media. Stop by the Leo Luau for a chance to meet the International President!
6. Wildlife at the Honolulu Zoo
[Photo credit flickr: madisonberndt]
Who doesn’t love the zoo? Enjoy the lush tropical gardens surrounding the luau and catch a glimpse of the wandering peacocks on the zoo grounds.
7. Great Giveaways
The sun never sets on a Leo. Leo Luau attendees can stock up on their Leo gear with free Leo Luau sunglasses.
8. The Leo Club Program Department
[Clockwise from top left – Natasha, Kerstin, Emily and Cindy]
We may not be as exciting as fire dancers or peacocks, but we’re excited to meet you!
Interested in attending the Leo Luau? Be sure to select the optional Leo Luau event when you register for convention!
Mary S. has been closely involved with Sight for Kids (SFK) in Kerala, India, since its launch in this country in 2005. At that time, local Lions clubs who administer and oversee the SFK program began a partnership with Little Flower Hospital & Research Centre as a referral hospital for SFK patients.
On a day-to-day basis, Mary plans teacher trainings and screening camps, purchases spectacles, completes detailed evaluations, and handles billing and correspondence, among other duties. To
date, her efforts have helped to ensure the planning of more than 140 teacher training camps and 400+ school screening camps.
“It is a highly rewarding and satisfying experience to provide vision correction to students whose problem would have remained undetected without for the Sight for Kids programme,” says Mary. “Unfortunately, unilateral blindness is very common in schools due to uncorrected refractive error, squint, and other vision care issues. And amblyopia is prevalent among school students.”
Little Flower hospital is an 800-bed hospital in Little Flower Hospital’s ophthalmology department. The department has a committed interest in prevention of childhood blindness, serving local communities for decades in the town of Angamaly (25km north of Kochi) in Kerala. It is there that Mary serves as assistant administrator, managing the treatment and support for SFK referral patients from nearby low-income public schools.
Since 2005, the SFK Kerala program has screened more than 5.1 million school aged children, referred more than 155,000 for professional exam and provided more than 30,000 children with eyeglasses. Additionally, 27,000 have received treatment at local referral hospitals, including Little Flower Hospital.
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Companies (JJVCC) have collaborated to provide eye health education and eye care access to more than 20 million children since 2002 through Sight for Kids(SFK), a school-based program that mobilizes volunteers to provide eye health education, high quality vision screenings and referral access to professional eye care and treatment, including eyeglasses.
SFK in Kerala is the intersection of Mary’s academic studies and training, as well as her passion to serve young children and their families, such as Ajith from a local district.
Young Ajith was identified through SFK’s outreach to local schools and referred for a professional eye exam. He was diagnosed with having retinal detachment and needed surgery. “His parents were without the means to support surgery, so the Lions club supported the surgery. Now, he is doing well in his studies. At first, his family was in a totally disappointed situation but now they are happy as they could regain the vision of their child,” explains Mary.
“With Lions clubs, we are visiting unrepresented areas as well as repeat visits in alternate years. If not for Sight for Kids, most of the cases would have gone unidentified because of lack of awareness,” says Mary. Together, Lions Clubs, partner facilities such as Little Flower and dedicated staff such as Mary are making a difference and bringing hope to young students and their families in needy areas.
This is the first in 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.
In the April LION Magazine: Where do all of those eyeglasses go? Take a look inside a recycling operation in Olympia, Washington, that has sorted through 1.5 million discarded specs. Also, service groups like the Lions, Rotary and Kiwanis clubs are known for their friendly rivalry. But when they team up for a good cause, there’s nothing they can’t accomplish. See some innovative projects that these joint efforts have accomplished.
Also in this issue:
In the Digital LION, watch a video about the upcoming 98th International Convention in Honolulu, and get special previews of speakers, entertainers, seminars, tours and more; see a vintage message from 1937 in which Lions Clubs founder Melvin Jones encourages members to attend the convention in Chicago; read a story from 2010 describing how Lions in multiple states worked to deter diabetes.
Visit the LION Magazine page to contact editors, view past issues and listen to the audio version of the magazine.
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