Lions Clubs International

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Lions Clubs International is the world's largest service club organisation with 46,000 clubs and 1.4 million members in 193 countries around the world. The international headquarters is situated in Oak Brook, Illinois.

It was founded in the U.S.A. in 1917 by Melvin Jones and became truly International on March 12, 1920 when the first club was established in Canada. Membership is by invitation and attendance at meetings is expected on a monthly or fortnightly basis. Politics, religion or other contentious subjects are generally forbidden at club meetings. Lions are truly a community-based organisation with a hierarchy that can take a member from a club to office at zone, district, national and international levels. An interesting aspect of the operation of Lions Clubs is that all funds raised from the general public are used for charitable purposes, with the administration costs of a Club kept strictly separate and paid for by its members.

The average age of Lion members is increasing and the average membership of clubs is decreasing in the Western world. This is typical of other service clubs such as Rotary International and Freemasons.

Spread of Lionism

Lions Clubs International has had a history of support for the work of the United Nations since that organisation's inception in 1945, when it was one of the non-governmental organisations invited to assist in the drafting of the United Nations Charter in San Francisco.

Lions are recognized worldwide for their service to the blind and visually impaired. This service began when Helen Keller addressed the International Convention at Cedar Point, Ohio on June 30, 1925 and charged Lions to be 'Knights to the Blind'.

In response to that challenge:

  • Lions were instrumental in having the white cane recognised as a symbol of the blind.
  • Lions established and support a majority of the world's eye banks and hundreds of clinics, hospitals and eye research centers worldwide.
  • Lions collect more than 5 million pairs of used eyeglasses each year for distribution in developing countries.

Lions also have a strong commitment to community hearing and cancer screening projects. In Perth, Western Australia, they have conducted hearing screening for over 30 years, and provided seed funding for the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute instituted September 9 2001, a centre of excellence in the diagnosis, management and research of ear and hearing disorders.

In Perth, Western Australia the Lions have also been instrumental in the institute of the Lions Eye Institute.

External links

fr:Lions Club fi:Lions Club sv:Lions Club

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