CZECH REPUBLIC Old Eyeglasses, A New Concept Across Europe in 29 nations last year thousands of schools, civic groups and cities held events and hosted projects as part of the European Sustainable Development Week. Lions in Prague jumped right in, promoting eyeglass recycling, a concept new to most Czechs. Bank employees and customers donated more than 2,000 eyeglasses at 42 branches of the Komercní Banka, a leading bank in the Czech Republic. “We were extremely pleased with the project,” says Eva Zouzalova of the Prague Strahov San Giorgio Lions Club, which organized the initiative. “Recycling of eyeglasses is not done here. People don’t even know they can be recycled. Eyeglasses are thrown in the rubbish.” Czech Lions transported the eyeglasses to a Lions eyeglass recycling center in northern Italy. After being cleaned, repaired and measured, Italian Lions shipped the eyeglasses to several nations including Kenya, Mozambique, Zambia and Cambodia. An influential agency, Flagship Communications in Prague had promoted the recycling free of charge for the Lions. Sponsored by the European Union, the first-ever sustainable development week focused on waste and resource conservation, biodiversity, green jobs/training, climate change and social inclusion. NEW ZEALAND Puppets Help Kids Deal with Feelings Puppets Zak, Lucy and Jo play together, bicker, confide in each other, squabble, make plans together and learn to accept their differences. Their dramas mirror the lives of schoolchildren, which is why a child counsellor takes them to perform at schools. “Using puppets is an ideal way to connect with the children,” says Lesley Bates. “The puppets work well to bring the children out of their shells and explore emotions without embarrassment.” The Feilding Host, Feilding Manchester and Feilding Kowhai Lions clubs sponsor the school visits by the Social Socks puppets. “I get brilliant support from Lions. I was blown away. They are such lovely groups of people,” says Bates. PAKISTAN Child Labor Drama is Dickensian A sensitive, intelligent young boy in Pakistan, Yasir is forced by his father, a drug addict, to quit school for a job in a dirty, noisy workshop. Yasir dutifully trudges off to work, but one day, remembering his school days, he breaks down and weeps bitterly. That’s the plot of “Little Hands,” a piercing drama on child labor sponsored by a Lions club, produced by a Lion, written by a renowned Pakistani writer and staged at the well-appointed auditorium of the Pakistan National Council of the Arts in Islamabad. Pakistan has one of the world’s highest rates of child labor, and the 90-minute drama with professional actors was performed on June 12, the World Day Against Child Labor. “Our children and youths [who work] are unable to get a proper education and are involved in various type of abuse,” says Iftikhar Ahmed, charter president of the Islamabad City Lions Club. “I think the performing arts is a good medium to convey messages to the public. We can increase our membership and convey a good image of Lions.” Ahmed, the show’s producer, outlined his general ideas for the script for Aslam Mughal, the playwright. The play drew about 500 people including officials from UNICEF and the U.S. embassy. The play is grim but ends on an upbeat note. Shaken by the death of another child who works, Yasir’s father has a change of heart. Yasir’s return to school becomes a reality when a Lion financially assists the family. Yasir completes his schooling and joins the Lions to stamp out child labor. AUSTRALIA Manure Is Not Wasted The dung of the earth is supporting flights of mercy and healing. Or as the local newspaper put it, “Manure is not such a crappy idea.” The Murgan Lions Club bags and sells manure to green thumbers. Proceeds go to CareFlight, which provides quickresponse medical care for remote injured and ill people through a fleet of helicopters and planes. The manure is courtesy of the cows of dairy farmer Col Sippel, a Lion since 1974. One day while contemplating his cows’ prodigious output, “I got a brainwave that we should be selling manure,” he told the Toowoomba Chronicle. The club sells nearly 40 bags weekly.
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