"It is my proud privilege to be here for the release of a Commemorative Postage Stamp on The International Association of Lions Clubs.
The Department of Posts issues Commemorative Postage Stamps on Institutions that have a national or International stature or have made national/international contribution.
The International Association of Lions Clubs was founded in 1917 to bring succour to the poor and needy across the world. The organization with its motto ‘’We Serve” truly epitomizes the spirit social service. Here. I would like to recall the words of the Father of The Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who had said :“What the vast mass of mankind does for self or at best for family, a social servant does for general good”.
The saying ‘’serving mankind is like serving God” no doubt sounds clichéd. But the values of humanism, charity, philanthropy, compassion for fellow human beings and all living creatures are more relevant today than at any other time. I commend the yeoman services being rendered by the International Association of Lions Clubs with its band of volunteers across 210 countries in the world,
Nothing gives greater satisfaction and joy than extending a helping hand to those in distress. “Let us become God’s instrument and distribute fortune to the poor and needy” says the Rig Veda. Every individual must be alive to the needs of the society and the community he is living in and try to extend a helping hand. I would like to once again recall the words of Mahatma Gandhi, who had said: “ The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.
Sisters and brothers, it should be remembered that social service promotes integration and helps in cementing bonds between people.
There is a need for various social service organisations and socially-conscientious citizens to supplement the efforts of the governments at the Centre and in various States in eliminating poverty, illiteracy and other social evils like dowry system, gender discrimination and atrocities against women and weaker sections. Promoting sanitation and Skills development among the youth are other important activities that need to be promoted by all types of organisations.
I am told that the International Association of Lions Clubs, which is headquartered at Chicago, USA is serving through 46,000 clubs in 210 countries. In the last 100 years, the strength of its volunteer members has grown to over 1.4 million. I am happy to note that the organization celebrated its Centennial in 2017 and, as a special Centennial Service Challenge, Lions Clubs International (LCI) has undertaken to serve 100 million people worldwide-- 25 million each in the four key areas of Sight, Environment, Youth and Hunger.
I am aware that prevention and eradication of blindness has been a signature activity of the Lions worldwide. I am told that Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF) – the charitable arm of LCI-- has awarded more than USD 901 million as grants worldwide – for restoring sight, supporting youth, disaster relief and other humanitarian issues.
The Lions movement came to India in 1956, with the formation of the first two clubs at Mumbai & Delhi. The movement has enjoyed steady growth over the years and today, in just 60 years, India constitutes the second largest body of Lions in the world, with nearly 25,0000 members serving through 6400 clubs in every nook and corner of the country.
I am happy to note that Lions in the next three years will screen 25 lakh patients for vision disorders, perform nearly 100,000 cataract surgeries and treat over 20,000 people for other sight conditions.
I am glad that through its Lions Quest initiative has taken up a comprehensive youth development program for social and emotional learning. It seeks to promote character education, drug awareness and service learning in a caring, safe, participatory environment and allows students to develop 21st Century life skills.
There is virtually no sphere of social service left untouched by this organization and the multifarious service activities being conducted pan India benefit lakhs of poor and needy people. Hospitals and medical Centres, schools, orphanages, institutions for the specially challenged, old age homes, blood banks and dialysis centres are being run by the Lions Clubs.
I am also happy to note that Lions Clubs International was recently chosen as one of the Brand Ambassadors for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan of the Government of India.
The Centennial Slogan- “WHERE THERE’S A NEED, THERE’S A LION” aptly summarizes the culture, work and social contribution of this organization.
It gives me immense pleasure to release a Commemorative Postage Stamp on “The International Association of Lions Clubs”.