Lions Club guest to show effect of donating glasses

Special to the Fort Mill TimesFebruary 18, 2014 

A woman in Democratic Republic of the Congo wears glasses supplied by the Lions Club.


— A pair of glasses can mean a better life for those across the globe.

The Tega Cay Lions Club collects glasses from residents, which are sent across the world to those in need, including as far away as Africa, said Tega Cay Lions Club member Janet Thoma.

Residents will have the opportunity to see the effect these glasses have during the Tega Cay Lions Club meeting on Feb. 22 at the Casual Water restaurant, 15083 Molokai Drive in Tega Cay. The public is invited to attend. Breakfast will be served at 8:10 a.m. before a presentation by featured speaker Esaho Kipuke, founder of Kipuke Ministries. Kipuke helped establish a school and training center for young men and women in the village of Pya, Togo, in West Africa, Thoma said.

Kipuke, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, holds a doctorate in missions from Columbia International University and is an ordained United Methodist pastor with a master’s degree in theology from Boston University. He established the school with his wife Beatrice in 2007, Thoma said. The school teaches various domestic economics and provides work and learning opportunities.

The school helps women avoid what’s been a common practice: Getting sold by their families to older men in exchange for goats and other goods, Thoma said.

“There is so much interest now in human trafficking and on reaching out and helping people in the West African continent,” Thoma said.

Kipuke Ministries also has provided care for orphans and seniors and adult literacy programs.

Lions Club International was inspired to start its mission to improve vision by Helen Keller, who spoke at a Lions Club meeting in Cedar Point, Ohio, on June 30, 1925, Thoma said. Keller challenged the Lions Club to “foster and sponsor the work of the American Foundation for the Blind,” Thoma said.

“It makes a phenomenal difference to those over there,” she said, referring to the far-away recipients of the Lions’ work. “There are ways we can reach out to people so far away.”

The Tega Cay Lions Club, which works with the Fort Mill and River Hills Lions Clubs on sight initiatives, will collect unused glasses during the meeting.

Anyone planning to attend or who want more information can contact Thoma at 548-2617 or

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