Taking Them Out to the Ball Game Part of the elite Mexican League, the Sultanes Monterrey baseball team plays in the largest baseball stadium in Mexico. But the ballpark accommodates only eight wheelchairs. So when Lions sponsored a day of baseball for disabled children at the stadium, hundreds of seats were removed for 100 children in wheelchairs. Chartered in 2012, the Guadalupe La Sierra Lions Club transported in trucks 1,300 children with disabilities for a day of baseball at the stadium. The children mingled with the big leaguers, played a game on the field and then watched the Sultanes club take on the Petroleros de Minatitlan. The children put on uniforms and hit and fielded the ball with assistance from the major leaguers, Lions and relatives. There are no organized teams in the region for children with disabilities. “Our main goal was to show these children and their parents they could participate in baseball,” says Lucy Reyna Garcia, president. The children enjoyed it–almost as much as their parents. “The children showed a lot of enthusiasm, but their parents were even happier to see their children playing with their friends,” says Garcia. No one kept score (except perhaps the children themselves in their heads). The children munched on hot dogs while watching the big league game. After the game was over they received a welcome surprise. “Our goal was fulfilled when the mayor committed to promoting sports for disabled children in the Little Leagues,” says Garcia. $100 Loans Change Lives Kalupahanage Ajitha Vinodani of Sri Lanka was left with no income when her husband died in an accident a few years ago. Others in her situation plunge into destitution. But Vinodani is a thriving entrepreneur. She lives near the beach, where she buys fish, dries it out and sells it for a tidy profit. Sri Lankan H.W. Renuka Damayanthi turned her life around when she bought a sewing machine. She makes dresses, curtains and blinds that she sells at the local market. The demand for her products is so strong that her son helps her after school. The two women have more in common than business savvy. The Hikkaduwa Lions Club guided their path to self-sufficiency. The Sri Lankan Lions funneled small loans of about $100 to each of them from Lions in Denmark, who began the microloan program in 2007. Lions have given the interest-free loans to more than 275 poor families. The Søllerød Lions Club in Denmark began providing small loans to women in Sri Lanka and Nepal and now also partner with Lions in Haiti and Tanzania. Women with families who otherwise likely would be impoverished have used the loans to raise chickens, open street restaurants and expand home gardens. Often the women are able to hire other women, and their small businesses create an economic mini-boom. Bimala Shrestha of Nepal used her loan to buy wool to make gloves, caps and socks. Three women now work full-time in her shop, and 50 other women either supply her shop or sell her goods to export firms. International President Barry J. Palmer of Australia is urging Lions this year to engage in microfinancing to stimulate jobs. But Henning Molin of the Søllerød Lions helped initiate his club’s microloan foundation after learning of Muhammad Yunus, who in 2006 received the Nobel Peace Prize for his microfinance achievements. Yunus received the 2008 Lions Humanitarian Award. The Søllerød Lions Club set aside $50,000 to fund microfinance to celebrate the club’s 50th anniversary. Most of the loans, which range between $100 and $400, have been repaid timely. The club’s funding now exceeds $60,000. Buyers Flock to Flea Market Visitors to the Nyvang Cooperative in Denmark watch farmhands harvest fields with horses, housewives wash clothes on washboards and blacksmiths shape red-hot iron into horseshoes. The living museum showcases the decades-long heyday of the cooperative movement in Denmark–a strong factor in the development of democracy in the nation and an influence today in industries ranging from dairy products to windmill energy. Visitors to the museum can also often see a facet of Denmark society that came after the cooperative movement but is a hallmark of civic-minded societies–Lions. The Lions of nearby Holbaek partner with the cooperative on a flea market, Christmas celebrations and other events. Four other Lions clubs also sometimes take part. The recent flea market drew a large crowd. “The results promise a repeat and perhaps a tradition in the future,” says Joergen Nielsen, club president. Profits went toward the pediatric ward at Holbaek Hospital. French Deepen Ties with Essilor Lions in France partnered with Essilor, the world’s largest manufacturer of corrective lenses, on World Sight Day (October 10). Volunteers from Essilor accompanied Lions on information campaigns and free eye exams in dozens of cities. In 2012 Essilor used avant-garde art on World Sight Day to promote eye health. Urban artist Manfred Stader created an ephemeral, interactive, 3D work on the theme of sight and better vision in Charenton- le-Pont, the Parisian suburb where Essilor is based. Essilor is a longtime partner of Lions Clubs International. It provides lenses and equipment at no cost to Lions among other contributions to Lions’ sight efforts. A Powerful Idea in Nepal Nepalese villagers have husked rice for centuries. Now they produce food much more efficiently in rice mills reliant on small power stations made possible by a Lions club in Switzerland. The Thurgau Lions Club supports the Nepal Yantra Shala Energy Company in its work in remote Nepalese villages, whose source of energy previously was from wood, dung or agricultural residue. The villages’ water mills, powered by timber water wheels, were not powerful enough to drive ricehusking machines. Lions gave the energy company a universal drilling machine and a refurbished turning lathe and provided on-site training. The club also underwrote the electrical engineering education in England of the son of the company owner. The end result has been a string of villages with small power stations and communities better able to feed themselves and others.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Lions+on+Location/1609867/192299/article.html.