Wednesday, November 22, 2017

New club aspires to make a difference

By Elizabeth Tungaraza @TheCitizenTz

        There is a new kid on the block, Lions Club of Dar es Salaam Africana, and the latest under the umbrella of the Lions Clubs International.

The club adds to the global network of approximately 1.4 million Lions Club International members who are in over 46,000 clubs scattered in 210 countries around the world.

Just a few weeks into existence, the club has registered 26 members; 18 male and 8 female, who have started their activities running by meeting the needs of local communities.

Mwinyi Said, a Standard Four pupil at Vingunguti Primary School and resident of Mwana Orphanage Centre is quick to attest to the agility of the members of the new club.

“We are so excited whenever we see guests visiting us at the centre. We know for sure that they remember us for our suffering and they come to offer us support, be it food, educational material or household items,” he said.

According to the Africana club’s charter president Shaheen Alam, the club has already distributed food stuff to Mwana and Maunga Orphanage Centres in Temeke and Kinondoni districts respectively.

It has also planted over 100 trees at Maunga orphanage centre.

Mwana Orphanage centre secretary Jabir Malik said what charity organisation such as Lions Clubs are doing should be emulated by others be it companies or organisations through their corporate social responsibility.

“Most of big companies that make a lot of profit in doing business do not return something big back to the community. They should ensure that such corporate social responsibility programmes reach the underserved and vulnerable children like orphans,” commented Malik, commended the club for extending voluntary donations to the orphanage centre.

“Children need love and when they received such donations from well-wishers, they feel that they also belong to the community,” added Malik.

At Muanga Orphanage Centre at Hananasifu in Kinondoni District, hopes are high after they recently received donations from Africana club. Rashid Mpinda, acting secretary at the centre, said they extended a request to the club for accommodation facility. “We talked to them and we are optimistic that our request would receive a positive response,” said Mpinda.

“What the club is doing is like investing for the heaven in future. We see wealth people and some company supports different sports games, sports clubs and beauty pageant contests with a lot of money. They will only remember the vulnerable children during holiday only, donating goats and some food stuff,” noted Mpinda.

“They should do something more to leave a mark in the community. Very few good-hearted people and charity organisation like Lions Clubs have been doing more than what big companies offer to vulnerable children,” added Mpinda.

According to Shaheen, empowering volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding is the main mission Africana club members should be ready to undertake.

“Since the 26 men and women came together to form the club on October 4, 2017, they vowed to serve the community. We share the same vision with our global umbrella organisation of becoming global leaders in community and humanitarian services and take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the community,” noted Shaheen.

“We aspire to be very active members of our global service network. We vow to do whatever is necessary to help our local communities,” added Shaheen in his speech during a brief inauguration and installation ceremony held in Dar es Salaam on October 28, 2017.

During the occasion, Lions District Governor of District 411B, comprising of Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan, Sayed Rizwan Qadri and PCC Abdul Majeed Khan presented the new club with their official charter, which was handed over to Shaheen, the founder and charter president of the club.

The District Governor installed all Africana club officials for the fiscal year 2017/18 in the presence of members of the Panorama Lions Club, who sponsored the formation of the Africana Lions Club.

“I am proud to welcome these men and women into Lions. Dar es Salaam will be proud to have such a fine group serving their community,” said the 411B District Governor Sayed Rizwan Qadri.

He urged the Africana Lions Club to plan to actively involve itself in providing relief supplies to communities facing hunger, food distribution to the needy, free eye camp with cataract operation, free medical camp for less fortunate people, diabetics cap and awareness, cancer, health, environment, emergency relief during natural disaster, youth skill development, education and any other social activities as community demand.

“We have to plan a way forward. Our assistance in the health sector should multiply from vision to diabetes and Paediatric Cancer. Feeding the hungry and environment conservation should also remain top in our agenda,” said the 411B District Governor.

According to him, Lions Clubs have excelled in many ways. He attributed the successes to good leadership and membership; elements that he said add strength to the clubs. “With our combined knowledge and skills, we can go far, but let there be attitude as our driving force to excel and stay stronger,” said Sayed Rizwan Qadri.

“I have been a witness to many great activities carried out by clubs in Uganda and some in Tanzania. We reach out to serve the vulnerable because we want everybody to see a better tomorrow,” noted the 411B District Governor.

In Tanzania, he said, Lions Clubs have carried out worthwhile projects that have immense values; all along seeking relief for the underprivileged, needy and those deprived of their sustenance.

“What we can do for the community is now our responsibility. But in order for us to do much for the community, we need to look out for collaborating partners and stakeholders,” he advised.

His sentiments were echoed by the newly installed charter president, Shaheen, who urged members to strive to make a difference in the community.

“Together, we will be able to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, and in our own lives, as we gain personal and professional skills that will last a lifetime,” said Shaheen.

“Let us now go forth and prove that Africana club is a progressive force in our community. Let us demonstrate to everyone with whom we come in contact as Lions, the true meaning of our inspirational guidepost-“We Serve,” he added, urging members to actively participate in the club’s fundraising and community service initiatives.