Your guide to the great work we’re doing around the world No Scaredy Cats at Teddy Bear Hospital No parent wants to take his child to the hospital, but every parent looks forward to escorting their children to the Teddy Bear Hospital in Croatia. Here parents step aside, and children toting their teddy bears get to step up and interact with doctors and nurses as their huggable companions receive a vaccination, a soft cast for a broken arm or an eye or ear examination. The idea is to lessen the fears of children when visiting doctors as well as fostering their independence and maturity. These lessons are especially valuable in Croatia, where every child receives free healthcare. The temporary hospital is the brainchild of the Slavonski Brod New Century Marsonia Lions Club. Slavonski Brod, known as Marsonia in the Roman Empire, has 60,000 people. The 14-member club includes several doctors who work at the city hospital and bring along their stethoscopes and other tools of their trade to the Teddy Bear Hospital. The Lions set up the special hospital at a children’s fair, held under a large tent in the city center. The fee for a teddy bear exam was 10 kuna (US$1.75), which was donated to an orphan’s home. Helping children is a central focus of the club, says President Marija Janković. Lions sell Christmas cards made by children from an elementary school and a school for special needs children; funds raised are given to the latter school. Members also hold a rummage sale for the orphanage and celebrate Christmas with the children there. Royal Treatment for Lions The Christmas celebration in Tetbury, England, (January LION) is always extravagant and festive but this past December it was positively royal: Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, turned on the Christmas lights. The prince met with Lions, who help run the festival, and told them he was aware of their charitable work. “Being associated with the royal visit gave the Tetbury Lions an opportunity to showcase the work of Lions locally, nationally and internationally,” says Paul Farrow, president. Caring for the Underserved There is no money, no bus and no way most villagers in remote areas of Ecuador can access medical care. But there are Lions. Members of the Quito El Labrador Lions Club worked with doctors to provide health exams for the poor in far-flung locations. Lions in India Respond Rapidly After floods and landslides, Mukkom East Lions in southwestern India gathered food and water and drove 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) toward the disaster area. With the roads no longer passable, they hoisted the boxes on their shoulders and lugged the supplies another 10 kilometers. “People were in shock and panic,” says President Anwar Sadique. “They were tired from not getting adequate food and pure drinking water.” Eight people including three children had died. The Lions were the first ones on the scene other than police. The villagers were “greatly surprised” to see members of a service club arrive first, says Sadique. “The experience taught us that services rendered to human beings are the best thing one can do in the world,” he adds. Mexican Club Serves in Multiple Ways The 32-member Playas de Tijuana Lions Club in Mexico serves where needs arise whether it’s medical screenings (top left), nutritious food and supplements for infants (top right) or gifts for needy children (right).
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