On 7th February 2016, the Second Vice President of Lions Club International; Lion Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir paid a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University. This was during her three days trip that aimed at meeting and fellowshipping with the Lions Fraternity in Uganda.
In accompaniment of her spouse Dr. Jon Bjarni Thorsteinsson and other Lion delegates, Lion Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir was welcomed to the Ivory Tower by the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe who represented the Vice Chancellor Prof. John Ddumba-Ssentamu.
During the insightful meeting attended by some members of Makerere University, Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir shared ideas on how Makerere University and Lions Club International can partner to promote basic education in Uganda. According to her, Makerere University and Lions Club International have similar interests in helping students to attain basic academic and valuable life skills. She therefore called upon the two institutions to make a workable relationship to build a transformative career of young Ugandans.
“Makerere University is one of the best institutions of higher learning in Uganda. It has embarked on providing better quality education with the aim of promoting and bettering the lives of Ugandans. As well, Lions Club International is spotting all the opportunities that can help to provide education to children at local level. This means that if we come together and have a relationship with a focused aim, we can be part of the team that will improve the education system of this country. We can corporate with Makerere University and see that a Ugandan child attains the basic education he needs,” she said.
Lion Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir was happy to visit Makerere University, a remarkable and renowned university around the world to have mentored and nurtured many prominent people in Africa. “I am happy to be here and I am hoping for a close relationship between the university and the club to tap into the available opportunity that can change the lives of Ugandans,” she happily remarked.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe commended the constructive ideas shared by the Vice President and pledged to fully engage the University Management on how the institution can better collaborate with the Club. Prof. Nawangwe acknowledged the tremendous work done by Lions club International in developing the civic, cultural, social and moral welfare of the Ugandan community through its financial and moral support.
“We thank Lions Club International and Lion Clubs of Uganda and its partners for the wonderful job done in pulling our country out of poverty. On behalf of Makerere University I welcome Lion Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir, the 2nd Vice President of Lions Club International and her spouse Dr Jon Bjarni Thorsteinsson to the legendary Makerere University. I believe that your visit will open stronger collaborations between Makerere University and Lions Club International,” he said.
He applauded the Club’s spirit of giving back to the community that has enabled to improve Uganda’s health and education sectors when he said, “I am aware that the Club constructed a nursery school in Masaka, an orphanage in Kasese and two dormitories for the disabled in Mbarara. The Club also built Rugarama Church of Uganda Eye Hospital in Kabale. It has also enabled Cataract surgeries in many parts of the country.”
The International Association of Lions Clubs (Lions Clubs International is the largest and most active voluntary organisation in the world. with a membership of over 1.4 million men and women in more than 46,000 clubs. In July 2017, the Association will be celebrating 100 years of existence.
Lions around the world are united by a spirit of giving and dedication to helping others. The Association is funded by Lions Club International Foundation through grants that are geared towards local and global humanitarian efforts.
In Uganda, Lions Club International together with its partners have improved peoples’ lives by investing in cubing down the looming vision problems that affect Uganda’s population. The Foundation has also responded to to major catastrophes, provided valuable life skills for youth and partnered with government ministries to fight preventable diseases through immunisations and other health interventions.
According to District Governor, 411B (Uganda & Tanzania), 2016-17, Mr. Venie Tinkumanya, about USD 345000 has been geared towards compressive Eye Care project which is about to start in the Acholi region. The Club has invested USD 3.5million towards elimination of River Blindness and USD 5 million towards elimination of Trachoma in Busoga and Karamoja regions.
“LCI has managed to build and equip five major eye departments in five Regional Referral Hospitals of Masaka, Mbale, Lira, Gulu, and Arua. Lions club International has also constructed ten primary schools in Busoga region, some bore holes and facilities for the disabled in many parts of the country,” he said.
After paying the courtesy call to the Vice chancellor, Vice President headed to Makerere University Lions Leisure Park, an activity project for the Lions Club of Kampala Central. Lion Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir together with club members planted a tree as a sign of togetherness in maintaining environment and fighting against climate change.
She thanked the members for the tremendous work they are doing in keeping up with their mission that calls for empowering volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions Clubs. “I am glad that we have managed to influence many lives for the years we have existed as lions. Let us keep up with the spirit as we drive the world to a better place to live in,” she said.
According to Prof. Charles Ibingira, Principal of College of Health Sciences, the leisure park is an environment conservation project of Makerere University and Lions Club of Kampala Central that was initiated with the aim of protecting and conserving the environment.
“This is project signifies our togetherness in fighting against climate change. The place has been well maintained with good environment that enable students to rest or read their books from here. Prof. Ibingira thanked Assoc. Professor Lawrence Mugisha and his team for not only maintaining the leisure park but also building as strong foundation of Lions Club at Makerere University.
Born in Iceland, Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir was elected the 2nd International Vice President of the Lions Club International at the Association’s 99th International Convection that was held in Fukuoka, Japan on 28th June 2016. She is the Vice Director of the Institute of continuing Education at University of Iceland. Gudrun Bjort Yngvadottir is the first highest ranking female international president of Lions Club International, she believes in woman emancipation and very passionate in uplifting the rights of women around the globe.
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