BELGIUM Imagine There’s No Need Thirty-six years after his death, John Lennon remains beloved across Europe and especially in Brussels, where people are proud of their independent spirit and creativity. The Brussels Imagine Lions Club, named after the ex-Beatles anthemic hit, enjoys doing untraditional projects— such as its recent collaboration with artists who painted and sculpted using old doors and window frames. An artist created this work of art for Lions to sell. Fifteen artists created, well, it’s open to interpretation what they depicted. There was a Madonna-like mother and child (a refugee family?), a bundle of sticks and wood and an iron woman made from discarded brass and steel. Displayed at an old warehouse, the art fetched US$12,000. Typically, Lions split the selling price with the artist. Two years ago, partnering with the club, artists created paintings on old beer barrels. Proceeds from both fundraisers went to a home for adults with disabilities. The club was formed in 2010, the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death. None of the 11 members are artists: there are lawyers, an insurance agent, an entrepreneur and a firefighter. But the club does meet at an interesting place: the Youkounkoun Palace, a restaurant named after the world’s biggest diamond. One woman knit these toys that Liverpool Lions sent to Romania. ENGLAND Toys Help Heal Wounds— Sometimes Literally Joan Elliott remembers a poignant moment after Lions in England sent teddy bears to young children in Mostar injured during the Bosnian War in the early 1990s. Short of supplies, the embattled medical professionals told the Lions that next time they should provide teddy bears with bonnets that had ribbons—the ribbons could help keep the tubes on the babies. For more than 20 years Lions in England have been shipping hand-knit bears and other hand-knit toys and clothes to children in dire straits. They’ve partnered with Lions in Norway to help children affected by Chernobyl, Moscow Lions in Russia assisting an orphanage, Turkish Lions responding to an earthquake and Lions in Sri Lanka aiding a nursery. Lions typically work with church groups, whose members knit or crochet the toys and clothes. The latest project of the Liverpool Lions is supporting disadvantaged children in Romania. The painstakingly crafted goods “bring some comfort and joy to these children,” says Elliott, a past district governor. ITALY World’s Fair Includes Our Roar World’s fairs have been spectacular events since the first one was held in London in 1851. The expositions have introduced to the world such wonders as Paris’s Eiffel Tower and Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone. World Expo 2015 was held over six months in 2015 in Milan, Italy, and Italian Lions were on hand to showcase the wide range of Lions’ service. The theme of the fair was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” and Lions’ large exposition booth highlighted Lions’ service in alleviating hunger, providing drinking water, preventing disease, encouraging healthy lifestyles, protecting the environment, curtailing waste of food and water and promoting food safety and innovation in growing food. Past International Presidents Giuseppe Grimaldi of Italy, Barry Palmer of Australia and Joe Preston of the United States attended the Lions Day at the fair, and Grimaldi and Preston also participated in a day dedicated to biodiversity. Attended by Past International Directors Manoj Shah of Nairobi and Alexis Vincent Gomes of the Republic of Congo, an African Lions Day focused on innovation in the food chain. Altogether, 137 nations took part in the fair, which was attended by 22 million people. NAMIBIA Caring for a Community’s Elderly One question changed the course of a club and eased the pains of the elderly. “Why isn’t there home-based nursing care for older people here?” Lion Trevor Schaefer asked Corrie Steyn, a nurse, in 2007. “Here” is Henties Bay in Namibia, a small country of 2.3 million in southwest Africa. There were about 700 elderly residents then in the town of 6,000 and no hospital. So Steyn started the Nurses on Wheels program with the help of Lions and then joined the Hentiesbaai Lions Club three years later. ‘We saw the need for home care. We wanted to take care of the psychological and physical needs of the elderly until end of life,” says Lion Pieter Erasmus. Today, a team of nurses and seven care workers provide care to the bedridden, assist with hygiene, exercise and post-operative care and tend to terminally ill patients. Steyn, now the club’s director of health and welfare, often makes her rounds with Hannelore DeJager, another nurse; Christine Anderson, a social worker, and Lorraine Swartz, a caregiver—all Lions. The club buys medical equipment and donates space in their large clubhouse for the nursing program. There is an examination room, a consulting room for nurses or a visiting doctor, storage space for medical equipment and an administrative office. Lions also operate a “Smousgat” shop in the clubhouse where second-hand clothing and other items are sold to raise money to help needy elderly. The shop has proved so popular that Lions plan to increase its size and relocate to another building. Male Lions accompany nurses to lift patients and assist with the transport of bigger medical equipment such as hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers and commodes, says Lion Jeanette Bronkhorst. Female Lions in the 64-member club also go with nurses on home visits to offer their assistance and cheer to patients. NEW ZEALAND Jet Ski Proves Its Worth Kayaking far off Uretiti Beach, the couple tipped their vessel and fell into the water. In their 60s, they desperately flailed their arms as the waves pushed them out further. Beachgoers called police, who dispatched a rescue squad on a jet ski. The jet ski already has saved two lives. “The police would have taken a half hour or more to get there. The jet ski was there in minutes,” says Terry Ward of the Whangarei Lions Club in northern New Zealand. “They were exhausted and would have drowned.” Ward’s club recently provided the Ruakaka Surf Life Saving Team with the jet ski after two crab fishermen died near the popular beach. The club raised NZD$25,000 (US$17,000) to purchase the rescue vehicle. The lifesaving team patrols miles of beach area. Known as the “city of 100 beaches,” Whangarei has 55,000 people. Its four Lions clubs have 88 members.
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