YOUR GUIDE TO THE GREAT WORK WE’RE DOING AROUND THE WORLD Lions Boost Christmas Spirit An English market town that flourished in the 17th century when the wool trade took off, Tetbury at Christmas looks like you might imagine. Merchants decorate their shop windows with wreaths and candles. Subdued white lighting bathes the ancient streets. A torchlight procession escorts Father Christmas to the historic market house, and villagers sing carols and feast on mince pies and mulled wine. The Tetbury Lions are one of the sponsors of “Christmas in Tetbury,” and their monthly publication, the Tetbury Advertiser, features an Advent calendar on its December cover and pages of information inside on Christmas events. Published since 1974 by the Lions, the Advertiser is the club’s biggest fundraiser. Sent free to 4,200 homes and businesses, each issue includes dozens of pages of community news and events and full-color ads from businesses. Lion Barry Gibbs serves as editor. The club has 31 members. “The whole club is geared to making it [the Advertiser] work,” says Gibbs. The publication generates about a $32,000 annual profit. Lighting Up a Village For a decade the mobile phone, fitting easily in the palm of a hand, has been hailed as the device most likely to quickly improve the lives of the poor in developing nations. Now another gadget that can fit in the hand and that has been technologically enhanced is expected to make life better for the impoverished: a solar lamp. Solar lamps are a cheaper and safer alternative than kerosene lanterns, which are fire hazards. The lanterns emit fumes that cause serious respiratory ailments, especially in cramped quarters, and significantly damage the environment through carbon-dioxide emissions. The lanterns also are expensive: households without electricity often spend 10 to 25 percent of their meager income on kerosene, according to studies. Also, the light from kerosene lamps often is too dim for reading. Solar lighting is a boon to education. In Sudan, school pass rates doubled after students used solar lighting for a year, the World Bank found. Members of the Lobatse Lions Club in Botswana recently distributed solar lamps to 39 homes in Bethele, a village without electricity. The Lions Euro Africa Partnership, including Lions from Italy, underwrote the cost of the Lemnis lamps, which can shine for as long as 45 hours on low light and nine hours on its brightest level after an eight-hour charge. The lamp’s battery lasts five years. Past District Governor Tekemanangathe Ramkumar says the villagers are “very happy” with the lamps, which, as an added benefit, can charge cell phones. Malaysian Lions Train Teachers Lions in a club in Malaysia aren’t teachers, but they are helping teachers improve their classroom techniques. Tropicana Kuala Lumpur Lions sent to Sri Lanka hundreds of copies of a DVD titled “Teaching Made Easy.” The DVD was made for teachers without formal training as educators, not uncommon in developing nations. Longtime teacher Lim Teik Leong, the father of Lion Pepper Lim, made the video. Now retired, Leong trained aspiring teachers and also taught in rural and urban schools. The 50-minute video warns against long lectures, provides tips on making interesting lesson plans and explains the different ways people learn. Leong is the chief presenter in the video, which also taps into the expertise of other teachers and educators at teacher colleges. A longtime video enthusiast, Leong says videos are “a cheap way to teach and disseminate knowledge.” Lions posted the video on YouTube and Facebook in addition to distributing it. “All the feedback has been very positive,” says Lim. “Young teachers said they have found it useful.”
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