European YA contest at Tallinn/Estonia

This year 9 youth from UK, Ireland, Belgium, Romania, Turkey, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and the DR Moldawia participated in the contest and received the "Bert Mason Award" in honour of their work.

Moving from one country to another doesn't mean only to leave friends behind but very often you'll find yourself a "stranger" in your new neighbourhood.

Anna Maria had to suffer prejudice and even rejection when her family left Bulgaria and settled in Italy.

Remembering her own sad experiences with racist and xenophobic tendencies she noticed with regret the events taking place in 2015-16 when thousands of refugees arrived in Europe.

We all remember those people were not overly welcome by a growing number of citizens.

Anna Maria therefore developed a project to promote intercultural tolerance at school. To reach mutual understanding, students will share information about languages, religions, art and architecture, literature, cusisine and traditional music from each other.

Relations between young people and the generation of their parents sometimes are like permanent misunderstandings and even battles ...

The "Project Generation Z" brought to life by Alicia-Joy from Ireland tries to bring a kind of peace to both parties.

Not in the traditional way by explaining the older generation to the youth but just the other way round.

The world of Facebook, Instagram and other social media, the pressure to look good and receive many "likes" on FB in which young people (="The Generation Z") seem to live, are sometimes like a foreign country to parents and guardians.

The project "Generation Z" therefore invites parents and guardians to the conversation, helping them to the world their children are living in and provide them with the necessary informations and support they may need to help them to help their youngsters and to deal with challenges.

About 10 years ago, Jesse from The Netherlands survived successfully a life-threatening illness.

Since 2011 he's working as an ambassador of the "Opkikkerdagen" foundation [Opkikker means to improve or even to cheer up somebody, dagen means day]. The foundation's trying to cheer up children with long-term illnesses like cancer or chronic deseases.

So "Opkikkerdagen" is a day on which members or ambassadors of the foundation are fulfilling wishes of sick children and their families just like flying a helicopter, riding a fast car, fishing or crafting something together.

In his effort to support the foundation he's collecting old mobile phones. A recycling company pays € 2,- for each to the foundation. Until recently Jesse had already collected more than 35.000 mobile phones, but his goal is to make it 50.000!

Five R's are describing what Ayla from Germany wants to achieve:

REFUSE - what you do not need.

REUSE - what you have.

REDUCE - what you need.

RECYCLE - what's left.

ROT - compost the rest.

To reach her goal, Ayla established together with one of her teachers a "Sustainability Club" at her school. They meet every fortnight in order to plan their campaigns.

This means workshops about waste separation, upcycling in order to reduce plastic waste. It means poster campaigns to inform the public. And it includes educational workshops for schools, kindergartens and other public institutions.

Their target is to show that everybody can do something for our environment. On this way her school is supposed to become the most sustainable place.

People who are in need are the focus of Alexia from Romania.

It starts with children suffering from cancer and doesn't end with adults living in an asylum. She has experienced children and adult people on the edge of what we call "life" and it almost broke her heart.

Her first step was to collect money to provide life-supporting apparatuses to a pediatric hospital - in which she already succeeded by winning the European Bert Mason Award at Tallinn.

For terminally ill children she intends to fullfill one of their most desired wishes - a project she calls "My Last Wish".

For suffering children and adults she'll try give them a little bit of normality and easyness by providing live concerts, dancing and painting classes or theater sideshows.

And her own way already seems to be decided: she wants to become an oncologist.

At Vladas school in the Democratic Republic of Moldova a kind of self-management has been implemented. And she's of course part of this "Student Council" which supposed to be the representative body of the students, meant to represent their interests in the school policy of the educational institution, as well as at national level.

It was formed by the desire to get involved, to organize the most interesting activities and to work as a team.

 Only a few of their activities are:

- organizing democratic elections;

- prevention of violence, aggression and abuse;

- improving learning processes;

- provide a certain code of conduct.

Thus this school is a micro-society and prepares young citizens for further activities in their greater community.

Our contact with or exposure to new technologies have sometimes severe impact on our lives, especially when even little children can't go one day without being in front of a screen.

New researches therefore have shown an increasing number of children suffering from autism and attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) - supposedly provoced by these new technics.

Simay Nur from Turkey strongly believes that art and high quality education may cure these negative effects.

She's organizing art workshops for young children (5-10y of age) for one month and an exhibition of their paintings and creations afterwards. The sale of the paintings will support the Turkish Autism Foundation.

The second part of her project is about education - for children, but especially for parents who have trouble to accept that their children are a little bit "different".

"I have Asperger’s, dyslexia, dyspraxia and AD(H)D (as well as anxiety, hypermobility, synesthesia and a sensory processing disorder). I have had lots of negative experiences because of my learning differences, including being bullied at school for most of my childhood."

This is on the top of the website, which has been created by Siena from London in 2016.

"Being different and standing out from the crowd is isolating, especially when those around us can’t understand the daily struggles that we face. Although, there are lots of support websites for the parents of children with learning differences, there is no website to mentor and support us. I find this odd, since we are the ones that have to deal with the daily reality of having learning differences."

She joined the "Diana Award National Anti-bullying Youth Board" to raise awareness of the prevalence of disability-related bullying by sharing her exyperience.


Eloise from Belgium set up a small grocery named "Le Chalet" store at her school, to provide local, healthy and biological snacks and beverages for students at low prices.

But that's been only the first step - she's trying to enlighten her fellow students how to reduce waste or avoid non-recyclable materials like plastic-wrappings or one-way cutlery.

Together with fellow students she started a fundraising project for the "Mekong Plus Association". The association is helping people in Vietnam and Cambodia for more than 25 years for example to increase health and educational programs or to improve infrastructure.

At home in Brussels she also tries to support poor people living on the streets by distributing clothes, hot drinks and daily meals

After work and "behind the curtain":

the national representatives and - at the top - the newly elected representative of the European Lions Young Ambassador Contest, Pompilia Szellner from Romania.

For him (Joachim A.) it's been his last task as YA-representative for Germany - accompanying Ayla to the LYA contest in Tallinn.

For Pompilia Sz. from Romania it's been her first assignment as european organizer and representative of the "Bert Mason Award" Lions Young Ambassador Contest.

Hopefully there will be many more opportunities for young people to experience the joy of helping those in need and to feel the support Lions Clubs International is offering them.

They just have to give it a try ...


Deutsche Jugendbotschafter 2019

Helene N., Distrikt 111-BO, und Philippa S., Distrikt 111-BS (vlnr) haben gemeinsam nach einem Auslandsjahr in den USA die erste europäische Niederlassung der "Harvard College VISION" gegründet.

Die Organisation fördert mit Spenden die Augengesundheit in Ländern der Dritten Welt, sensibilisiert junge Menschen für gesundheitliche Probleme in aller Welt und fordert sie auf, selbst aktiv zu werden und zu helfen.

Nur ein Beispiel:
Erblindung z.B. durch "Grauen Star" (Katarakt) schließt bereits Kinder vom Schulbesuch und dem Erlernen eines Berufs aus - letztlich werden diese Menschen aus ihrem sozialen Umfeld ausgeschlossen, müssen betteln oder verhungern sogar.

Jugendbotschafter des Distrikts 111-SN:
(vlnr) Rouven G. begann sein ehrenamtliches Engagement mit einer Spendenaktion für die Mannheimer Kinderkrebsstation.
Inzwischen unterstützt er "FreeZone", ein Projekt zur Wiedereingliederung von Kindern und Jugendlichen, die auf die Straße leben.

Meryem Ö. organisiert gemeinsam mit Schülerinnen ihrer Klasse zum 70. Geburtstag des Grundgesetzes eine Informationsveranstaltung im Ehrenhof des Mannheimer Schlosses.

Hannh H. sammelt Geld zum (Wieder-)Aufbau von Schulen in Nepal - u.a. importiert sie als Geschäftsführerin der Schülerfirma Namaste Nepal sAG Buchen hochwertigen, fair gehandelten Kaffee aus Nepal und spendet die Gewinne für den Schulbau.
Ein 2. Projekt sind Nepal-Läufe (Volksläufe), die über Sponsorenverträge Spenden generieren. Beeindruckend ist die Teilnahme aller Altersgruppen aus Kindergarten bis hin zum Altersheim - ein Event für den ganzen Ort.

Die Teilnehmer im Distrikt 111-NH (Niedersachsen-Hannover) von links:
Nils P., Shania F. und Fin B.
Shania gewann den Wettbewerb mit der Vorstellung ihres Engagemnets als Mediatorin, die ihre Hilfe für Schüler/innen bei Konflikten erfolgreich anbietet und so häufig Streit oder gar körperliche Auseinandersetzungen vermeiden hilft.
Nils und Fin stellten ihre Tätigkeit bei der Freiwilligen Feuerwehr vor - was wären wir in vielen Gemeinden ohne dieses Engagement!

Emily Q. und Lena K. aus dem Distrikt 111-ON.
Lena leitet an ihrer Schule seit 2016 die "GOP" (Gruppe zur Organisation der Projektwoche).
Die Schülerinnen und Schüler der GOP planen jedes Jahr für ca. 750 Schüler eine Projektwoche, wobei die Schüler/innen jeweils aus 30-40 unterschiedlichen Projekten auswählen können, die von Lehrkräften oder Schüler/innen ab der 8. Klasse vorgeschlagen werden.
Ob Badminton, Selbstverteidigung, Kreativ- oder Sprachkurse, Yoga oder meditatives Schreiben - die Angebote sind sehr vielseitig - ein tolles Projekt.

Emily setzt sich für den Klimaschutz ein und unterstützt zusammen mit anderen Schüler/innen die Stiftung "Plant for the Planet", durch deren Wirken seit 2007 bereits mehr als 13,6 Milliarden (!) Bäume weltweit neu angepflanzt wurden. In Zusammenarbeit mit der Stiftung haben Emily und ihre Gruppe auch schon viele Bäume gepflanzt und vor allem auch jüngere Schüler an ihrer Schule für das Projekt begeistert.

Distrikt 111-N (Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein) - von links: Sina W., Janet M., Tom K.
Tom engagiert sich seit seinem Abitur im Sommer 2018 bei "Hanseatic Help". Diese Organisation wurde 2015 gegründet als tausende Flüchtlinge in der Hansesatdt Hamburg ankamen und eine Basisversorgung ins Leben gerufen werden musste. Daraufhin entstand die damals größte Kleiderkammer der Bundesrepublik in den Messehallen. Hunderte Freiwillige sortierten, packten und verteilten alles, was die Flüchtlinge brauchten.
Auch heute und nach dem Umzug in die Große Elbstraße ist "Hanseatic Help" immer noch aktiv und unterstützt weltweit Hilfsorganisationen in Krisengebieten mit Sachspenden.

Janet und Sina besuchen die Olzeborchschule in Henstedt-Ulzburg und haben sich 2017 mit anderen Schüler/innen dem bundesweiten Projekt "Schule ohne Rassismus - Schule mit Courage" angeschlossen.
Das Projekt versucht rassistische Vorurteile mit Begegnungen und Aufklärung zu beseitigen. Ihre Erfahrung zeigt, dass gemeinsame Sportveranstaltungen oder auch gemeinsames Essen von "exotischen" Speisen oft die Grenzen zwischen Menschen unterschiedlicher Herkunft und Religion verschwinden lassen.

Malin P. aus Böbingen (Distrikt 111-SM) wurde durch einen Zeitungsbericht Ende 2015 inspiriert, eine Sozial-AG zur Unterstützung von jesidischen Flüchtlingen an ihrem Gymnasium zu gründen .
Seither besuchen die Teilnehmer der AG regelmäßig die Kinder der im Kloster der Franziskanerinnen, nehmen sie auf Ausflüge mit, kochen und spielen gemeinsam.
So lernen beide Seiten einander spielerisch kennen.
Malins Lieblingsspruch:
"Wenn viele kleine Menschen an vielen Orten viele kleine Dinge tun, können sie das Gesicht der Welt verändern"
- selbst wenn es zunächst wie der berühmte Tropfen auf den heißen Stein aussieht.