Barry J. Palmer 2013-10-08 05:10:54
A Message From Our President This year I am urging Lions to Follow Your Dream. That may seem corny to some. But for millions and millions of people who live in poverty it’s another story. They dream of a better life. They dream of a stable income, an education for their children and health care for their family. In India, for example, nearly 70 percent of its 1.3 billion people live on less than $2 a day. Many of us spend twice or three times that on a single cup of coffee. Lions in India have found a way for people to reach their dreams. They provide small loans so people can start a business. It works. It’s worked in India for Lions (see page 42), and it can work elsewhere. With these micro loans people are able to lift themselves up by their bootstraps and earn a decent income. The absolute beauty of micro financing is that people help themselves. It’s not a costly giveaway program. Neither is it tossing money at people and letting them sink or swim. In India, training is provided. In some programs small self-help groups offer support and advice as well as ensure compliance. These mechanisms have led to incredible success stories and remarkable outcomes for micro finance programs. I especially admire micro financing because the principles behind it remind me of the service of Lions. We don’t toss money at people. By giving them sight we empower them. We often engage with people, meeting and interacting with them instead of writing a check and dropping it in the mail. Micro financing recognizes the basic dignity of people and the universal ambition to better oneself and provide for one’s family. We’re all in the same boat; with micro financing we are reaching out to our neighbors with an oar and friendly advice on how and where to row. And we’re hoisting a sail in the boat to enable them to reach their destination. Where are we headed? Follow Your Dream!
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/President+Message/1528044/178501/article.html.