I always felt like something was missing from my life. I did everything for the happiness of my family and nothing for my own self-actualization. So I began engaging in small charity activities, using donations from friends and family. Slowly I began to realize that this was what was missing in my life. Seeing smiles on the faces of people as I gave them the help they needed made me happy inside. It gave me a feeling of fulfilment—the feelings I have craved for as long as I can remember.
Charity…is something that has to come from the heart…
I soon realized that there were organizations that carried out such good deeds and would help me pursue my passion. That’s when I decided to join the Lions Club of Menengai in Nakuru, Kenya, Africa. The amount of support I received when I first joined the club was inspiring, and I kept doing what I loved most.
Soon I was given the title of president of the club. It was definitely a life-changing experience to have the freedom to spend time with those who think that no one cares, giving them the validation they need. I am determined to keep on going, to keep proving that charity is not just a monetary donation. It is something that has to come from the heart, something selfless for another being. It requires patience and love.
The Lions Club of Menengai has done many memorable service activities, but there are two projects that we’re especially proud of. We launched our first signature project in 1995—the Njoro Girls Home. This home shelters 38 orphaned girls who are well cared for and provided with an education. Some girls are taken care of until they go to university and begin working. Our club provides a safe environment for these young women and helps prepare them for life’s challenges by teaching them basic skills, such as chores and how to take care of themselves.
Members of the Lions Club of Menengai at an activity at a home for disabled children.
A little later, the club created and published its own book, The Ultimate Collection—A Vegetarian Cookbook. It contains recipes of popular Indian snacks, sweet meals and biscuits, which ensure a comprehensive range of cooking options to experiment and savour. This book helped fund the Njoro Girls Home.
The Lions of the Menegai club launched their own book, "The Ultimate Collection--A Vegetarian Cookbook" to help fund the Njoro Girls Home.
Lions have always been known for their many efforts at raising awareness about diseases and encouraging people to serve. Our club does this through social media groups, where some groups talk about things that are happening in our area, while others offer updates on life-threatening diseases. We also hold seminars and talks in schools and halls to raise awareness about diabetes, cancer and other diseases. These are just some of the ways we create awareness.
We also try to keep our members interested and engaged as well as encouraging new members to join. Lions achieve this by carrying out fun fundraising activities where we have several games, such as the Luckydip. In this game, members are allowed to promote their items, such as clothes, electronics, toys, etc. by putting them up for a win. This not only provides free promotion for members’ personal businesses, it raises awareness about the club and encourages volunteers to supervise the games. They also take school children on charity trips where they use the entry fees to fund this activity and encourage them to help others and spread the word.
Lions involved in a tree planting activity at Hyrax Hill Museum.
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, our club has been at the forefront of providing much-needed support to the most vulnerable members of the community. Our regular food donation drives, donation of masks and sanitizers, and other activities are being carried out on a regular basis.
In conclusion, our club focuses on “How to donate correctly.” We believe donation is more than just giving things to a group of people—it is spending quality time with them and teaching them essential life skills. We would love for all Lions to follow our lead.
Lion Rani Ramchandani is the club president of the Lions Club of Menengai in Kenya, Africa.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted communities around the world in different ways. To ensure we’re serving safely wherever we live, Lions should follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization or local health authorities. Visit our Serving Safely page for resources that can help you safely serve your community.