SIGBI Programme Director’s Blog June 2017

Barbara Dixon

As I sit down to write this I have just returned from the All Ireland Conference in Derry , Northern Ireland.

It was a wonderful week-end with some amazing speakers, a picturesque and historic venue and a great deal of friendship, interspersed with a modicum of food and drink- sadly mine was water as medication prevented alcohol- but that did not detract from the warmth and success of the event.

On the Saturday morning the session started with two young speakers, contestants in the public speaking competition held as a joint venture in Ireland- they were inspirational, dynamic, thought provoking and a credit not only to themselves but to the future.

Mary Hession, Barbara Dixon and Margaret Clark at the All Ireland Conference

Mary Hession, Barbara Dixon and Margaret Clark at the All Ireland Conference

Baroness May Blood was also a delight to listen to. Her down to earth approach to her life was easy o the ear but thought provoking- she maintains her “right to gripe” about things she sees as unjust.

Talking to so many sister Soroptimists it would appear we all have the same problems with recruitment and retention, so I do hope that during this Membership Month you have managed to increase your numbers and that many of you plan to attend the meetings organised around the country to help us “Grow our Brand”.

Earlier in the month I met with the new head of the North Wales Anti-trafficking team Anwen Morgan, and she is delighted to have Soroptimists on board-I am sure it will be a strong partnership. As many of you know we have agreed to work with Anti-trafficking questionnaire, designed and successfully completed by N. Ireland last year-I do hope we can get useful data from that and share the same success as we did with the Prison Reform Trust work.

The Conference in Cardiff will focus, in part, on the heinous crime of Modern Day Slavery and I look forward to seeing many of you there.

I have always said that people join us because of our Programme work – the higher our profile, the more that will be interested so we all have to keep working away to gain that recognition.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres

On April 10th I was able to go to London to hear UN Secretary General António Guterres. His vision for the future of the United Nations and his ideas for world peace were inspiring.- If combatants are convinced they cannot win , then battles can stop. An interesting concept- negotiation not conflagration- I wish him success in his endeavours.

My own club’s Charter Luncheon was on 13th April- another sociable event. The beauty of our Oganisation is the balance between the work we do and the friendship we share.

As we head towards the middle of the year we also approach our Day of Action for the Federation Project in Meru Kenya. I hope you all have something lined up for this special day so that we can help more women gain an education which will be passed on to others, give them economic empowerment and enable them to feed and educate their families.

Once again I thank you all for the work you do to give women and girls around the world a chance to achieve their potential- without your work this would not happen.





MCR-beeI cannot end this blog without making mention of the atrocities in Manchester. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. Sadly this sort of thing is on the increase all over the world. The people of Manchester showed immense community spirit – from homeless people running to assist – to the emergency services, taxi drivers and local hostelries all pulling together in the face of adversity. They cannot change what has happened but working together they made a massive difference.

Yours in friendship

Barbara Dixon
Programme Director

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