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Lions Club continues work with the blind after 100 years

Published:Monday | January 16, 2017 | 12:00 AMJason Cross
Melvin Jones, founder of Lions Club International.

Helping to preserve the eyesight of citizens and providing free cholesterol and blood tests are some of the longstanding contributions made to Jamaica by the Lions Club. Celebrating 100 years of service, its members spread across the globe are proud of the accomplishments.

The Lions Club of St Andrew commemorated the life of Melvin Jones, founder of Lions Club International, on Sunday at a special function hosted at the Hotel Four Seasons in St Andrew.

Jones, born January 13, started the club in 1917. He would have been 138 years old this year.

"We have, as one of the pillars of Lionism, our work with the blind and with the prevention of blindness. We provide free eye screening as well as free eyeglasses for persons in need, and we also have an eye surgeon who comes in (at the sight clinic) once a month to do cataract removals," Errol Lee, the club's governor for District 60b, which includes Jamaica and the Northern Caribbean, explained to The Gleaner.




Fifteen out of every 100 young students considered illiterate because of their non-performance in school, but who are really suffering from poor eyesight, is one of the motivations behind the club's special interest in eye care.

"We provide free eye screening as well as free eyeglasses for persons (adults and children) in need. We recognise that in our schools, you would have grown up with a child in your class, who, when the rest were reading everything off the blackboard and writing it down, that child was struggling.

"The fact is, a lot of children are not seeing what's on the blackboard and the teacher is not thinking that they are not seeing, they think [they're] dunce or they're not trying hard enough," Lee said.

In St Thomas, Lions Club also provides clinics for persons with advanced diabetes. The club also continues to collaborate with non-governmental institutions like the Heart Foundation of Jamaica, to provide treatment for persons with heart problems.