Chinese New Year is only the beginning of celebrations for Kiwanis International members in Asia this year. Members in Tokyo, Japan, are celebrating that club’s 50th anniversary—which also marks the first time Kiwanis established a presence in Asia. Meanwhile, Chiba City members are excited about hosting the 99th Annual Kiwanis International Convention in July 2014, which is expected to draw 3,000 attendees from all over the world.
Here are some interesting facts about Kiwanis clubs in Asia.
- Since the Tokyo club was established on Jan. 24, 1964, Kiwanis has flourished throughout Asia, with 321 clubs in the Taiwan District alone. The Japan District has 29 clubs with more than 1,700 members. Other Asian clubs that are “Serving the Children of the World” represent countries as diverse as Malaysia, the Philippines and Korea.
- The Far East Club of Taipei is among the largest in Taiwan, with 146 members. The average club size in Taiwan is 43.
- Women make up about 30 percent of the total membership of Kiwanis clubs in Taiwan.
- Japan and Malaysia are among the districts leading the way with fundraising for The Eliminate Project, an initiative by Kiwanis to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus throughout the world. As of December 2013, Japan already had exceeded its goal to raise US$1.04 million. Malaysia has raised US$754,000 toward eliminating the disease, which claims the lives of nearly 60,000 newborns each year.
- Japan’s commitment to The Eliminate Project is especially noteworthy, considering it was hit with an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Tokyo members recalled struggling with the idea of donating to The Eliminate Project when so much was needed to rebuild Japan. However, they noted how much disaster relief Japan had received from all over the world and decided to wholeheartedly give back.
- Kiwanis is widely recognized throughout Asia. Government officials have publicly recognized members for their commitment to helping build communities.
Learn more about how Kiwanis members are making a difference in Asia by exploring district websites for Taiwan (Chinese only), Japan, Korea (Korean only) and Malaysia.