ENGLAND New Dresses Save Girls from Dire Fate in Ghana Pillowcases in England likely to be discarded end up saving girls in Ghana from being molested or abducted. Cheadle Lions and other Lions clubs support Little Dresses for Africa in which pillowcases are recycled and sewn into dresses. Girls in shabby clothes in Ghana are at particular risk of abuse because it’s assumed there is no one to care for or protect them. Nicole Watson, wife of Lion Nick Watson, is the UK coordinator for Little Dresses for Africa. She recently distributed to orphans in Ghana 480 dresses, 94 pairs of shorts, 90 T-shirts, hundreds of pants, books and toys. “It really makes you appreciate what we have here in the UK,” says Watson. “In Ghana there is no social assistance. If you are ill, there is no NHS [National Health Service].” Members of the all-male Cheadle club, other clubs and other groups donated pillowcases or sewing supplies, paid for shipping or made the dresses. Cajoled by his wife, Nick, the president of the Cheadle club, ran a half-marathon and raised 400 pounds (US$500) for the project. Watson’s trip focused on the Holy Heart Foundation orphanage near the capital of Accra. Some of the children are orphans while others were homeless because of abject poverty in their family. NEW ZEALAND A Twiddlemuff Triumph for Those with Dementia Restless hands are a hallmark of people with dementia. A twiddlemuff, a thick hand warmer with buttons, buckles or other easily-fingered objects attached inside, are often given to those with dementia to provide a comforting distraction. The all-women Palmerston North Heartland Lions Club set a goal to knit 100 twiddlemuffs in 100 days (ironically, the project was not a centennial project). The 43-member club easily surpassed its goal by coming up with 160 twiddlemuffs. “Every Lion probably knows someone unfortunate enough to have dementia. It can strike every walk of life, color or creed,” says 2016-17 President Jeanette Izod, whose sister-in-law and brother-in-law have the disease. Members used donated wool, buttons and assorted items to sew the twiddlemuffs. One woman donated her mother’s 100-year-old buttons, and another provided a suitcase of wool. Some donors took it upon themselves to knit the twiddlemuffs on their own. A red heart was sewn on to each twiddlemuff, given to care facilities. Staff told Izod that patients are “reluctant to take them off and just want to sit and twiddle.” One woman who had not spoken for weeks held her hands up and said, “These are lovely.” HUNGARY Talent Day Showcases Similarities Talent shows for schoolchildren invariably are crowd pleasers. But what happens when you bring together children in regular schools with children with disabilities and Roma children in one of the poorest regions of Hungary? On a scale of 10, the cumulative effect of a day of music, dancing and painting soared to a level of 11. “There were lots of tears,” says Lion Attila Jeles of the Nyíregyháza Elso Lions Club, which co-sponsored the unusual event. The children learned the lesson that they share things in common with people different from themselves. “We wanted to strengthen the feeling in them that we are all different, but dance, music and culture bring us closer to each other,” says Jeles, an English teacher. “Dissimilarity embodies an enormous amount of qualities.” The 4th Lions Talent Day was held at the Vikár Sándor Music School in Nyíregyháza. The children with disabilities who took part attend special schools and grapple with Down syndrome, autism, blindness and other challenges. The musicians were Roma children (known—often pejoratively— as gypsies) from the Dankó Pista Secondary Grammar School in Biri. The other children attend various schools. The event also was sponsored by the National Talent Points, a nonprofit that encourages gifted children. Leos pitched in as well. “Talent Day is always an unmatched, astounding experience,” says Jeles.
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