A.F.E.M.C.E. Cieza Murcia Spain
One of Peterborough Lions members went to live in Rural Spain and met with another English woman married to a Spaniard and found out that their youngest son was suffering from a mental illness, being treated at a local centre, went to visit and decided to carry on his Lions work with the clubs help at this centre whilst trying to put a local Lions Club together, the latter taking much longer than first thought it meant that some great work could be done with the centre.
The centre’s full name is “Asociación de Familias y Personas con Enfermedad Mental de Cieza Y Comarca” or “Assocciation of Families and People with Mental Illnesses in Cieza and Surrounding area”
It all started with meeting Jean, Jose and their son Benjamin and after a visit with them to the centre realised that they needed a lot of help to get a new centre moving. They had been given notice on the old centre and the local government had agreed a new lease on a brand new building for them. The problem was that the only support they get from government is a building and two staff members and that is it.
So the club got a request via Bob for the funding to help them with new computers which we gave £1,500 and that enabled the purchase of 4 new systems, ready for the new centre when it opened. The local council were upgrading some of their kit and gave them 10 old machines for a computer room but no money to wire the network for them to be of use so, Bob, Rose and two friends went along and wired and set up a complete network in the building, put all the machines on line and protected from viruses and loaded other software, saving them over €4,000 to get them all up and working.
So then came the shock that they needed to raise money for the equipment they need to do many varied activities within the centre and that is when Bob and Rose talking with Di devised a grand plan which has hatched to get surplus stuff from Di in Peterborough to the centre for them to add to the market stalls that they do along with their own crafts to raise more money. – Well – this was the start of an amazing fundraising mission across the water.
Bob and Rose came over to the UK for a visit and when they returned the car was full of stuff that Di had sorted out, all sorts of things from glass crosses to handmade paper. When they went to the centre to give them the stuff to sell they were confronted with emotion that is hard to describe, tears, joy and lack of understanding, they could not understand why people in the UK would want to help them here in Spain to build and improve the centre when there is no gain for the people in the UK, that is when they really learnt about our great organisation “Lions Clubs International” and how it works to help people all over the world, the great bit being that the web site for HQ is in many languages so they could read all about it in Spanish.
Since then Di and Clive have been over to Spain and more stuff has been given to them so with the help of Peterborough Lions, Di and Bob along with a number of others the centre has been able to raise money, save money, and grow to where it has now opened up their doors to more people and a wider range of activities. You may wonder how much help has been given and the answer is not as much as you would think but giving them the ability to help themselves is the greatest gift of all, as the people who are in the centre can go and meet the public at the markets, get to interact with those more fortunate and start to work on an integration path to get them back into society as we know it. If you take the total of what has been saved with a little hands on work, the gift of computers and the sale of things by them at market, we Peterborough Lions are the reason this little known centre in rural Spain is over €15,000 further forward and still going, but to see the difference in the people is the true value of our involvement.
Bob and Rose will continue to help them in the name of Lions International but we all deserve to be a little bit smug at what we the Lions have achieved in this project. A web site is being now built for them and you can go have a look at www.afemce.com when the site is complete they have asked for it to be in both Spanish and English to show how much help has been given they also insist on the Lions logo and name being seen on all publications and adverts for the centre. The amazing thing is on each visit it is impossible to say how welcome we are made and how much at home they make us, not only the staff but also the people we are there for “those less fortunate than our selves”.