Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada 2015-12-08 17:10:13
Lions Go Full Bore in Helping Refugees Lions clubs work like this: they see a need in their community and they fill that need. Lions Clubs International works much the same way: we become aware of a pressing large-scale problem or crisis and then address it. Other Lions leaders and I are horrified at the appalling refugee crisis in Europe, the largest since the end of World War II. The refugees have abandoned their homes, risked their lives and fled Syria and Iraq typically with little more than the clothes on their backs. Mothers and fathers cannot feed their children, shelter them from the elements or adequately protect them from disease. At headquarters we immediately saw the opportunity for a cross-border collaboration and quickly assembled a LCI/LCIF Refugee Steering Committee to funnel aid to refugees without delay. LCIF already has approved a US$200,000 grant to assist refugees, and our foundation has received from Lions more than another $312,000 for refugees. That amount will surely grow. The committee will provide guidance to Lions on developing impactful projects and seek out partnerships with other groups to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of our aid. Chaired by the very capable International Director Helmut Marhauer of Germany and Lion Claudia Balduzzi of Italy, the committee also includes Lions from Greece, Turkey and other European nations involved in the crisis. Lions in Europe have been on the scene heroically helping refugees in Turkey and Greece, even to the point of great personal risk (see story on page 8). However much we are moved and want to help, few of us can take time from work or family to be like these Lions and personally deliver aid. But all of us can support the work of Lions in the crisis zones or financially contribute to fundraisers and projects conceived by clubs and districts. Please be generous. Working together, Lions worldwide can help countless families obtain food, safety and the precious opportunity to restart their troubled lives. Dr. Jitsuhiro Yamada Lions Clubs International President
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