Fact Sheet 2 - Lions Around the World
Lions Clubs ~ a world citizen
Lions Clubs are committed to helping solve health and social problems, locally and globally. In 1945 Lions leaders played an important role in formulating the non-government sections of the United Nations Charter. Since 1947 Lions have held consultative status to the UN Economic and Social Council.
Lions Clubs International Foundation
Compared to some charities the Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) is only young, a newcomer to the world of philanthropy. But its already impressive record of helping of those in need, starting with the first grant approval in 1972, has propelled it firmly onto the international stage.
A charitable arm of Lions Clubs International, LCIF has three major objectives: humanitarian services, vocational assistance and major disaster relief. It also oversees the funding and progress of major Lions programs, including the ambitious SightFirst project.
Lions Clubs around the world, and, of course, in Australia, can apply to LCIF for assistance with major projects such as hospitals, schools and youth facilities. Emergency grants are made for rebuilding and restoring necessary services after natural disasters. In 1996-97 LCIF made grants in excess of $25 million.
The most ambitious program yet undertaken by Lions was an Australian initiative. Since Helen Keller's stirring 1925 challenge for Lions to become her "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness" sight has been a major Lions emphasis.
It was an Adelaide GP and Lions member, Dr Bob Coulthard, who suggested the SightFirst campaign, aimed at eradicating preventable blindness. Currently 40 million are so afflicted, the estimate was that their number would double by 2020.
Lions Clubs around the world have raised $200 million to fund this program, which has already restored sight to over a million people through a simple cataract operation. Sight workers are being trained and Lions eye hospitals built in developing countries.
International Youth Programs
A basic object of Lions Clubs International is to create and foster a spirit of understanding among the peoples of the world ~ where better to start than the young?
Lions make a strong service commitment to young people through a number of international youth programs:
Each year millions of students develop life skills and self-esteem through the Lions-Quest curriculum. Lions-sponsored Leo clubs are involved in a range of community service activities. Amongst the numerous other youth programs, Lions Youth Exchange gives young people the opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of other cultures, with emphasis on family and community life. Lions youth camps provide another perspective.