Sri Lankan selected as one of four global finalists of the Lions Club International’s New Voices Initiative

Shyana Jayalath with her parents.

Bringing honour to Sri Lanka, Shyana Jayalath, a member of Lions Club of Colombo (Host), was chosen as the Global Finalist in the marketing category of the New Voices programme of the Lions Clubs International. The New Voices initiative was launched this year by the first female President of Lions Clubs International, Lion Gudrun Yngvadottir of Iceland

Women are integral to the Lions family. Through empowerment programs, Lions Clubs International encourages women to get involved at all levels. New Voices promotes recognition for contributions by women and raised awareness of recruitment and leadership opportunities. It also promoted gender parity by focusing on increasing the number of women in Lions Clubs where women currently make up just about a quarter of the worldwide membership of 1.45 million service minded people, as well as closing the gap between men and women in leadership positions

Hundreds of women from around the world were identified for their exceptional dedication as New Voices nominees in the categories of membership growth, leadership, service and marketing. Some 32 semi-finalists were identified from more than 1,300 nominees and in February, Lions Clubs International announced the 4 finalists, one from each category.

Shyana Jayalath will be one of the four finalists to be recognized by Lion Clubs International at the 102nd International Convention at Milan in July 2019. The other finalists in the areas of Service, Membership Growth and Leadership are Lion Zeynep Kocasinan – Fethiye Mugla Lions Club Turkey (Leadership); Lion Maria José Rodrigues Pinto – Maceio Panalto da Jacutinga Lions Club Brazil (Service); and Lion Mi Yang – Jeonju Dong Haeng Lions Club Korea (Membership Growth).

“I had every confidence in Shyana as my nominee for Marketing of the New Voices program. On her own initiative, she had used social media and media to promote the work of her club as well as forwarding information of New Voices, and I had no hesitation in nominating her. She has proved that she is the right choice. All the Lions of Multiple 306 specially the New Voices nominees and the Ladies in Lionism wish her all the very best and thank her for putting Sri Lanka on the World map of Lionism, more so for our District, where the females are leading from the front as ‘We Serve for Change’. Hope to have the good fortune to be present at the Lions International Convention in Milan to attend her felicitation as a New Voices finalist,” said Lion Chandani Withana, District Governor, Lions Clubs International District 306 A1.

The Colombo (Host) Lions Club that Shyana Jayalath belongs to in Sri Lanka is credited for introducing Lionism to Sri Lanka and now she has added one more feather in its cap by being selected as a Global Finalist in the New Voices program.

A member of the Lions movement since 2005, Lion Shyana’s introduction to Lionism was at a very young age, as her parents, Lion Sisira Jayalath and Lion Lady Hiranya, were both very active in the movement. She cut her teeth in being a part of a global service organization as a member of the Leo Club of Colombo (Host) for over a decade where she later went on to lead Leo District 306A as its District President.

Currently as the President of the Lions Club of Colombo (Host), Shyana has spearheaded the club to engage in a range of social projects that are out of the general service radar of the Lions. The launch of the #StopShaming campaign, which drew attention to the aggravated social issue of cyber exploitation and violence, is further supported by the #OurFIght campaign just launched by her club via social media to draw attention to violence against women in Sri Lanka.

Celebrating Shyana’s achievement, Lion Mahendra Amarasuriya, International President – 2007/08 Lions Clubs International said, “It is indeed an exceptional and wonderful achievement for a Lion like Shyana to be a finalist in the Global New Voices Program. We are a small country with only about 14,500 Lion members, in a huge Global Organization of around 1,450,000 members. To be selected as a Finalist in the Global New Voices Program of LCI from Sri Lanka with only about 1% of the Global Membership of Lions Clubs International is an achievement which is almost unbelievable. This was possible due to Shyana being an exceptional personality, not only a very keen and dedicated Lion, but also pleasing and articulate and much involved in a variety of social activities. We, the Lions of Sri Lanka, are delighted to have her selected as a Finalist in the field of marketing and wish her all the success!”

The New Voices program of Lions Club International continues to highlight the opportunities available to both women and men on how they could make a positive different. Marketing is considered of paramount importance as it helps spread the message and tell stories of work carried out by Lions which in turn helps to secure donors as well as encourage likeminded people seriously consider reaching out to join a Lions Club.

Known as the knights of the blind for their ground-breaking work in fighting preventable blindness the movement has grown to adapt 5 pillars of service globally. Vision, Hunger, Diabetes, Pediatric Cancer and Environment are the broad categories of the Global Service Framework of Lions Clubs International which is the largest service organization in the world.