Lions Club Sliema was chartered on July 12, 1974, to become the second Lions Club in Malta. It was sponsored by Malta Lions Club, later known as Lions Club Malta G.C., but now as Lions Club Malta (Host). The International President at the time was Lion John Balbo.
The Club had twenty-five Charter Members and the Charter President was Lion Vahlmor Borg. Of the original members only Lion Joe Hersey is still active as a Lion, but not with our Club as he had transferred to \Lions Club La Vallette, now disbanded, and then to Lions Club Malta (Host)
From the outset, Lions Club Sliema members abided by the Lion motto “We Serve” and throughout its forty years of existence have always endeavoured to be of service to the Maltese Community and also managed to contribute towards International needs.
In its early years, the Club helped various institutions like orphanages, homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Through this service continue in later years, the Club became more ambitious and embarked on various other projects.
The Club is one of several Maltese Clubs which fall under the umbrella of Lions Clubs International.
Lions Club International is considered to be the World’s largest Philanthropic Organisation with 47,000 Clubs distributed in over 200+ countries and geographic areas with a total of 1.4 million Lion members around the world.
Lions are groups of service-minded men and women who are interested in improving their communities. To become a Lion is to become an active volunteer, a member of a respected international organization a leader in the community and a friend to people in need.
Projects are aimed toward a number of philanthropic causes ranging from humanitarian needs such as raising funds for a guide dog to support of the Arts such as the International Peace Poster Competition. This is achieved by the number of members serving as volunteers to reach the club’s aims.
Meetings, which are well attended, are held on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month. During the 3rd Wednesday meeting, guest speakers are invited to address Club members on various subjects of interest.
Since 1974, the Club has been involved in various donations, both in funds and in kind, to various institutions and good causes.
Preserving the Maltese Heritage
In 1983, Lions Club Sliema is proud to have undertaken the Restoration of the Frescoes at Sant’Agatha Catacombs in Rabat. This was a National Project of utmost importance, extraordinary cost and took five years to complete. These Frescoes date back to the 12th Century and due to their great historical value are a valuable restoration which attracts local and foreign visitors.
In 2010, Lions Club Sliema embarked on a National Library Book Restoration Project. The first task was to commission the Restoration Section of Heritage Mala to restore three volumes of “Hortus Romanus”, a very precious collection of seven volumes. The Hortus Romanus is a series of eight volumes published between 1772 and 1793 and is considered as one of the few Italian efforts at the publication of colour plate botanical books in the eighteenth century. The first restoration volume was presented to the Minister of Education in November 2010. The cost of restoration was sponsored by various local and foreign firms. Club Members and their families, members of the public and several other firms have since sponsored the restoration of over fifty volumes.
In 2011, through the unstinted efforts of Lion Alfred Micallef Attard, who was involved in the Book Restoration project from its outset, a Leaf Casting Machine who presented to the National Library.
In collaboration with the Sliema Local Council, Lions Club Sliema embarked on a project to Restore the various Statues and Alcoves in the Streets of Sliema. There are over 54 alcoves in Sliema alone, and Lions Club Sliema is proud to have participated in the restoration of 15 of these statutes and alcoves. After our involvement, the project was shelved due to financial restrictions. In later years, another effort was made and two further alcoves were restored, namely the statues of St. Dominic and Our Lady on St. Lawrence Street. Many more alcoves need restoration but these are held in abeyance of funding. The Club published a booklet describing the niches.
Another initiative in collaboration with Lions International is encouraging schools with youths of certain ages to participate in the worldwide annual Peace Poster Competition. This tackles a particular theme for the year involved. Jonathan Young the very talented artist who in 2010 managed to reach the last 24 in the Peace Poster Contest has repeated his feat this year. On both occasions, he was awarded U.S. $ 500 and a Certificate. More information can be found here
The Art Fund has sponsored recitals by promising Maltese singers and organised both vocal and musical master classes.
Lions Club Sliema is also committed to supporting the Arts. Deserving youths pursuing studies in the Arts, Music, Drama and similar related subjects, have in the recent past, benefited through our support for their studies which could only be completed overseas.
In 1984 during the presidency of Lion Joe GB Bonello, the Club pioneered a “Drug Awareness Campaign” raising over Euro 14,000 from badge days and personal donations. The collection campaign lasted for a whole month during which members went round various places to distribute leaflets and could be seen on several days with collection tins at prominent places in Malta encouraging people to donate towards this cause. The sum was donated to the Caritas Malta, Director Mons. Victor Grech was instrumental to make people aware of the menace of drugs among youths.
Lions Club Sliema is also proud to have originated the Organ Donation campaign in Malta. In 1996 the Sliema Club Lions financed the “Organ Donation Campaign” and together with the Media Centre and the Health Education Unit of the Ministry of Health launched a nationwide campaign to make people aware of the importance to donate organs and giving life to those needing a transplant. This campaign was a success with over 15,000 potential donors. Organs are generally transplanted into Maltese patients but some of the organs are donated to other countries. The campaign has been passed on to the Transplant Donors Association. This campaign is ongoing and anyone interested can register here
Lions Club Sliema also produced a booklet on “Diabetes and its Consequences” and a leaflet on “Breast Cancer“, highlighting the need for early screening.
Lions Worldwide are known as “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness”. In the work to improve sight Lions do:
- Recycle used sight glasses,
- Support Eye Banks to provide eye tissue for sight-saving surgeries,
- Supply equipment to screen the vision of thousands of people every year
- Raise donations through our Sightfirst and Campaign Sightfirst II.
To attain these goals the Club has contributed to the establishment of an Eye Bank at Mater Dei Hospital and Eye Screening Equipment at 6 Health Centres in Malta and Gozo for the early detection of Glaucoma.
Used sight glasses are also collected and sent to third-world countries. Lions Club Sliema, with the generous contribution through many benefactors, have exported these used sight glasses, on numerous occasions. Collection boxes are currently found at the Sliema Local Council and Vision Opticians who have outlets around Malta and Gozo.
It is not possible to mention all the projects undertaken by the Club since its inception but Lions Club Sliema contributes regularly towards many initiatives some originating from Lions Clubs International. These give prominence to international disasters such as tsunamis, and earthquakes devastating people’s homes and lives all over the world. At the local level Lions Club Sliema also supports many initiatives at Old People’s Homes, Children’s Homes, Various shelters and food banks with funds and hampers collected during our Fund-Raising Activities.
Lions Club Sliema is committed to achieving the Lions International Mission Statement:
- To be the global leader in community and humanitarian service and to empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions Clubs.
Donations are welcome