YOUR GUIDE TO THE GREAT WORK WE’RE DOING AROUND THE WORLD Extra Lessons for Japanese Students Japanese Lions take a keen interest in schoolchildren, sponsoring days focused on traditional paper-making and tea, lessons on foreign cultures and customs, and woodworking with parents. Okabe in Fujieda City, Shizuoka, is one of the top three areas producing Gyokuro, a fine green tea. The town also once made washi, traditional Japanese paper used to hold and transport the tea. The Shizuoka Fuyo Lions Club invited 40 students from an elementary school to experience the art of making paper and then to take part in a tea ceremony. The schoolchildren used washi-making techniques to produce postcards. They became so adept by the end of the session that they giggled when their teachers clumsily took a turn at it. “No, that’s not the way you do it,” a student chimed in. At the tea ceremony class, students frowned when tasting the bitter traditional tea and struggled to sit on the floor Japanese-style with their legs beneath them. But their discomfort served a higher purpose. “We want them to have pride and understanding of being Japanese in a globalized society, so they can tell people from other countries about Japanese traditions with confidence when they grow up,” says Takashi Konagai, club president. Nagayo, a bedroom suburb of Nagasaki, was once a farming area with tangerine orchards. The town remains peaceful and idyllic with swaths of green land framed by mountain peaks. Nagayo Lions spur schoolchildren to dream of other places and lofty ambitions by sponsoring a Kid’s International Day. Ninety students from third to sixth grades met with 12 foreign college students fluent in Japanese who told them about their own countries. The students from China, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh, Turkey, Germany and Kazakhstan described the food, weather, religion, customs and so on. “The children’s eyes were shining. I hope the interaction they had with foreign students will inspire them to dream big,” says Mitsuaki Tsujida, club president. In Yamanashi, Enzan Lions have partnered for 16 years with a construction business league to co-sponsor a parent and child craft workshop. This past year 100 children built book shelves. “Working together with your parents to make something becomes an unforgettable summer memory for children,” says Takaaki, club president. Lions Feed Hunger for Olden Days The old rudimentary tractors that once plowed Danish farmland are long gone, replaced by shiny, modern, more efficient tractors. Even longer gone are the horse-drawn plows that crudely carved up the soil. But once a year devotees of the past gather for Plow Day in Langeland, and Danish Lions play a role. Last year, 28 vintage tractors attempted to plow ruler-straight furrows. Most succeeded. Three horse-drawn plows competed, too, and they proved equal to the task. Langeland Lions duly staffed a “Plow Tavern,” which provided morning coffee, sandwiches and Danish pastries before the competition started and then dinner after it ended. The house specialty was panfried fish fillet on rye bread with a salad, tartar sauce, roasted onions and sliced cucumber. Taking Steps to Improve Vision What’s it like to be blind and walk crowded city streets? Malaysian Lions let hundreds of people experience blindness while raising funds for their sight work. Since 2004 hundreds of blindfolded people, escorted by a friend or colleague, walk three kilometers through Petaling Jaya, a city of 638,000. Thanks to corporate sponsors, the walk last year was expected to raise nearly $85,000 for the Petaling Jaya Lions Club’s sight programs. Last year nearly 2,000 people participated in the Blind Leading the Blind Walk. A hundred blind people walked; many guided a blindfolded friend. A brass band led the way, and gymnasts performed for the crowd. Petaling Jaya Lions have made possible vision screenings for 12,000 people and free cataract operations for 1,000 people over the last decade. Lions work with the Tun Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital, which has a mobile eye clinic and mobile eye operation theatre. Trees to Blossom with Good Works Slovenian Lions planted trees that contain the seeds of charity and good will. Joined by International President Wing- Kun Tam, Lions planted 58 olive trees in the village of Popetre. In time, the proceeds from the sale of the olive oil will benefit the needy, and the olive branches will be used for religious services. The trees represent the 55 Lions clubs in Slovenia. Each tree has a name tag with a club’s name. The other three trees were for Tam, District 129 and the Leos of District 129. The trees were planted on land owned by Lion Vladimir Razman, who will take care of them. Tam kept a busy schedule in Slovenia. He met with Blaž Kavčič, the president of the National Council Slovenia, attended the charter night of the Izola Isola Lions Club, met with club presidents and members of the Proteus Lions Club and visited the stunning Postojna Caves. The first Lions club in Slovenia was chartered 20 years ago. Slovenia has a high ratio of Lions per capita with 1,501 Lions among a population of 2 million. Slovenian Lions particularly help the blind, youths and those with disabilities. THE ST. CROIX LIONS CLUB ON THE ISLAND OF ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, HELD ITS 13TH ANNUAL DIABETES HEALTH FAIR. EIGHT BLIND OR VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE CAME TOGETHER TO FORM THE NEW BRANCH CLUB OF THE PETIT JUAN LIONS CLUB IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. THE LIONS CLUB OF MOMBASA ISLAND IN KENYA HELD A VISION SCREENING EVENT DURING WHICH NEARLY 2,000 PEOPLE WERE SCREENED AND 800 PAIRS OF EYEGLASSES WERE DISTRIBUTED. PARTICIPANTS ALSO RECEIVED DENTAL, HEARING, DIABETES AND BREAST CANCER SCREENINGS AND SERVICES. THE KATHMANDU RISING SUN LIONS CLUB IN NEPAL WORKED WITH A MEDICAL COLLEGE TO ORGANIZE A VISION AND HEALTH SCREENING THAT SERVED 400 PEOPLE. AS PART OF THE MILLION TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN, THE SEBAKWE LIONS CLUB IN ZIMBABWE PLANTED 500 TREES IN ONE DAY. IN THAILAND, THE PATTAYA TASKIN LIONS CLUB PRESENTED A REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM TO A SCHOOL, ENSURING THAT THE STUDENTS WILL HAVE CLEAN DRINKING WATER. IN PAKISTAN, THE SIALKOT EDEN LIONS CLUB DISTRIBUTED FOOD PACKAGES CONSISTING OF COOKING STAPLES TO 100 FAMILIES. THE BINANGONAN LIONS CLUB IN THE PHILIPPINES BROUGHT SCHOOL SUPPLIES TO NEEDY STUDENTS AT A LOCAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.
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