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Partnerships

AP has been a firm believer in building partnerships to be able to serve in a more effective manner. In 1996, even before he became a district governor, he organised an all India event titled “Lions Rotary Combine” bringing together the leadership of the two associations along with some of the most brilliant minds of the country to deal with socio-economic issues. 

 

During his governorship in the year 2000–01, AP built partnerships with large local business entities for funding water projects, cataract surgeries, and to celebrate the oncoming millennium with hundred days of service activity jointly between the Lions Clubs and BP Poddar Foundation. He entered into an understanding with the Lions leadership of Sri Lanka to provide corneas in India where supplies were not sufficient. He was instrumental in supporting surgeries of children from Africa in India, with the financial backing of the local foundations and business entities. 

 

In the more recent past, AP coordinated a three year understanding with Akshay Patra Foundation which provides mid-day meals to over 1.5 million children on a daily basis in India. He was requested by then IP Naresh Agarwal to coordinate this initiative. It resulted in the support of mid-day meals for more than 30,000 children and a fleet of vehicles to reach the mid-day meals to the schools in the northeastern part of India. Long before the pandemic, this entire initiative was run online without even a single printed document. 

 

Special Olympics (SO) has a wonderful relation with LCI. AP has been witness to the signing of the pact between LCINSO when he served on the international board. In ISAAME, AP organised the first long-standing MOU between his MD and SO to continue to support the programs for reaching out to special children. This support continues to date and has been extended to cover the Inclusion project of SO as well. 

 

In collaboration with the lines of MD111 Germany, AP and PID Sangeeta Jatia organised a joint service program for the supply of environmentally friendly stoves in the rural parts of the state of West Bengal. 

 

When encouraged to undertake a program for microfinance, AP succeeded in convincing his colleagues at the Eastern India Lions Leadership Academy to accept this challenge. This Academy raised more than USD 100,000 to initiate a programme jointly with ASA International to support small loans to women. Gradually the program grew with an exposure exceeding USD 300,000 and has resulted in pulling more than 7000 women and their families out of poverty. This was an experimental programme of lions working with microfinance in a structured manner, and its success story was proudly presented to the lions of the world during the centennial convention at Chicago. 

 

In association with the Sukriti foundation, with the involvement of AP, LCI supported expeditions of physically challenged individuals through difficult terrains to demonstrate that they are differently-abled. These expeditions were converted into documentaries, which won more than 20 awards at international film festivals. We believe this would be the first time any lions film with a social message would have been recognised at international film festivals. These events were widely recognised by the top-ranking government officials, past presidents of LCI and Consul Generals of various countries in India. 

 

The partnership with Sukriti Foundation also included training children in the slums of eastern India to unearth their painting skills. Some of the children turned out to be such prodigies that their paintings were auctioned in just a day, and one past president of LCI was almost in tears at such an event and obtained a painting that continued to occupy a place of pride in his office. 

 

In his district, AP initiated the Hearts that Care program. Through this program, Lions entered a partnership with two hospitals in the city of Kolkata wherein the cost of heart surgeries were subsidised for those who could not afford the same. 

 

AP has been serving as the chairperson National Sight First Committee of India. The annual Sight First conclaves in India have become a regular feature on the SightFirst calendar. During such Conclaves, alternative sources of funding from other international NGOs for Eye Hospitals run by Lions Clubs in India were explored. This experiment initiated by AP resulted in some Lions Hospitals obtaining significant support exceeding USD 500000 from such INGOs. 

 

In order to promote international understanding among the youth of the world, AP has worked closely with Calcutta Debating Circle to organise debates between young adults from some of the top universities of the world, including those from Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, and Florida. 

 

LCIF initiated its efforts in India to be able to draw upon support from the corporate sector. As part of CSR funding, the first funds to flow into the account of LCIF India were from Coal India Ltd (CIL) to the tune of around USD 150,000 for a project to provide safe drinking water in areas where CIL owns its collieries. This funding had been coordinated with the efforts of AP.

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