Supporting Days for Girls The Mayne Island Lions in British Columbia, Canada, have partnered with the local quilters’ guild, Mayne Island Quilters, to support a project that provides freedom and education, impacting the lives of young women in Africa, South America and India. They hope other Lions clubs will do the same in their communities. Lions on Mayne Island are financially assisting the volunteer quilters in their “Days for Girls” initiative. Days for Girls is a global grass-roots network of thousands of volunteers who sew sustainable sanitary kits for distribution to girls in these countries where many school days are lost to girls who, because of a lack of sanitary supplies, are forced to remain at home during their monthly menstrual cycle. In Kenya, a girl can lose 36 percent of her school days because of this, says Allen Slade, first vice president. The club’s financial support helps purchase materials and equipment to allow the Mayne Island Quilters to host monthly sewing sessions and produce a steady supply of kits to be sent to these countries. Each kit requires about six hours of volunteer time and contains washable pads, a washcloth, underwear, soap and other essentials in a colorful drawstring bag. In Mayne Island, the volunteer fire department has also donated workspace so many volunteers can work together at one time. Since 2008, Days for Girls has supplied more than 640,000 kits to young women in more than 100 countries, offering health education and support as well. “It is our goal to build on our partnership with the Mayne Island Quilters and facilitate similar connections by making presentations to Lions and quilters clubs within our district of 58 clubs,” says Slade. “Imagine the impact if similar collaborative initiatives between Lions clubs and quilters guilds were established around the world.” Growing an Environmental Partnership The Sacramento Maharlika Lions set out to plant 100 native oak trees at Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southern California to commemorate Lions’ centennial. But like any good tree project, it grew. When all was said and done the Maharlika Lions were joined by Lions from seven other clubs in District 4 C5, as well as two civic organizations. Instead of 100, 300 trees were planted. Maharlika President Perry Diaz, his wife, Dolores, the club’s secretary and first vice president; and District Governor Kumar Kalagara spearheaded the project. In 2012, District 4 C5 received the Sacramento Tree Foundation’s Austin B. Carrol Tree Hero Award for their commitment to tree planting, care and stewardship efforts. “So,” says Dolores, “we thought, ‘let’s rekindle the relationship.’” They announced their plans to the other clubs in the district, and seven clubs chose to join in. Now efforts are under way to make this a district project that will continue as the trees grow. “We want to maintain the trees,” Perry Diaz says. “We could have also planted trees in a city park, but it’s not as exciting as planting those little trees and seeing them grow over the years, and nurturing them along.” The volunteers had to dig a large hole for each tree, plant the acorn, mulch it and put a tree tube over it to protect it. “About 60 people came to help, and it took us about three hours,” he remembers. Stone Lakes Refuge is more than 17,000 acres of reclaimed agricultural land, once home to thousands of species of native wildlife. Although the foundation has planted thousands of trees there, Perry Diaz says there’s plenty room for more. And Jason Sullivan-Halpern, the foundation’s volunteer specialist, agrees, adding that the experience of working with the Lions was “inspirational.” The Maharlika Lions pledged to return and help maintain the Lions Centennial Grove, saying this was not the end of the project but “the start of a lasting environmental partnership.”
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Service/2832261/423323/article.html.