Kiwanis Club of Manotick Inspired By Clubs Around The World

By Ralph Tweedie, Manotick Kiwanis Club

Hola from Spain!

As I write this, my wife and I are traveling in Europe. We try to visit other Kiwanis Clubs while traveling and learn about their programs and accomplishments.

Kiwanis Europe is headquartered in the beautiful city of Gent, Belgium, but the 1st club in Europe was established in Vienna in 1963. Since then, Kiwanis Europe has grown to more than 25,000 members in approximately 1,200 clubs. Each country and each community have different needs. Here are a few examples of the innovative ways Kiwanians impact the lives of children throughout Europe.

In the Waasland region of Flanders, Belgium, the Kiwanis club of Sint-Niklaas Waasland worked with school associations to reduce the effect of poverty on children. Those most at risk were provided with new clothing, food, educational materials, footwear and more.

In the District of France-Monaco, clubs worked together to help a young girl who suffered from spastic diplegia (a form of cerebral palsy). Thanks to the action of the clubs, she was able to undergo surgery at the Pediatric Hospital of St. Louis, Missouri. She is walking again!

To contribute to youth safety, Kiwanis in Iceland and the Faroe Islands provide bicycle helmets and safety reflectors to all 7-year-old children graduating from first grade. The project started in 2004 and is still on going, with the support of the transportation company Eimskip.

Many clubs from the Kiwanis Germany District have been distributing school bags and supplies to socially disadvantaged children. The action is intended to help level the starting conditions for all children who enter first grade.

In Romania, some teachers noticed children missing school every other day. They discovered that the children had to share their shoes with brothers and sisters. Sponsored by various clubs and the Boissy company from the France-Monaco District, thousands of Romanian school kids now have their own shoes to wear to school.

This year, the Kiwanis Clubs of Europe have joined together to launch the European Social Project KI-E 2023-24 to help children in Ukraine. The first Kiwanis Europe Children’s Fund project was initially aimed at helping people fleeing the fighting at the start of the conflict.

Unfortunately, the war is far from over. Children and families continue to be its innocent victims. This new project aims to help those who are still in Ukraine. Single parent families and orphans are particularly hard hit by the conflict. Kiwanis Europe is working with SOS Children’s Villages, an organization with strong roots in Ukraine and who have the necessary connections to help where needed most.

In Kiwanis we believe we are shaping the future of the world by giving our children the opportunity to succeed and grow no matter their environment and circumstances. In the Kiwanis Club of Manotick we are often inspired by the innovative ways Kiwanians around the world help ensure all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.