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Membership is More than You can Imagine

Its May again, and Soroptimists are taking to social media to express why they chose to become Soroptimists. We are meeting with each other to reflect and renew our bonds and commitments. And while we share what we do year-round, in May, we increase our efforts and take every opportunity to share Soroptimism with women who may be interested in becoming part of a community whose mission is to transform the lives of women and girls through education, empowerment and enabling opportunities.

In April of this year, SI Anaparima inducted four new members, all of whom, were excited to jump in and contribute in any way they could, to the mission. When asked why they chose to become Soroptimists, their responses echoed familiar thoughts and sentiments.

“Being a part of an organization committed to service was always my goal and I have no regrets joining SIAN. I’m looking forward to serving, mentoring, and being inspired while working with my fellow Soroptimist sisters.” Ishani Ramsaroop

“I chose to be a Soroptimist because I wanted to make a meaningful impact on the world in a space where women are directly improving the lives of other women and forming meaningful bonds along the way.” Keren Stewert-Leon

“There are various reasons to become a soroptimist such as friendship, personal growth, enjoyment, sisterhood and much more. However, the most important reason is being afforded the forum and opportunity to advocate for women and girls. “Empower, educate, and enable” are words backed by action in our club, SIAN.” Kelsi Diljohn

These ladies, much like their sisters before them, spoke about service and sisterhood – two benchmarks of Soroptimism.

Firstly, we (Soroptimist International) are a global service organization – thousands of women across the globe who give of their time and resources freely to make a difference to women and girls within their communities who may not have access to opportunities, information or simply – encouragement. These activities (or Programme Action as we call it) are aligned to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are tailored from the perspectives of women to positively impact women and girls. In our work, the SDGs are focused through projects under the categories of People, the Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnerships with like-minded organizations when available and appropriate. Whether we reach one hundred women or 1 woman – we are propelled because of the difference we make through simple acts of service.

Secondly, we are a sisterhood! I dare you to do what we do without creating bonds that transcend the work. Yes, the work is what brought us together, but the realization of common interests and passions builds bonds. These bonds of sisterhood that are built along the way are what make the work light and inspires us to keep moving forward. While we volunteer our time, talents and physical resources at times, we are repaid with friendship, inspiration and love. We take the time to relax together, learn from each other and lean on each other when needed. When we falter, we pull each other up. When we disagree (as sisters are wont to do), we learn to work through it and press on because we know that what we do is bigger than us.

If you are looking for a space to make a difference, be creative and be a part of something positive and bigger than yourself, then Soroptimist Internation may be the place for you. Membership is more than something to add to your resume – it’s the excitement of young girls learning how to craft a brighter future for themselves through mentorship, it’s the countless information posts, webinars and interviews that bring vital information to women about their health that they may not have known or had access to, it’s the voice we give to the abused through advocacy and aid, it’s the tears of joy from the mother who did not know how to buy those school books, it’s the piles of collected garbage bags from our waterways and the hundreds of planted trees and pollinators for a greener future, it’s the lifelong friendships we make and the inward change that all of this inspires. There’s so much more that can be said but in the absence of sufficient time and paper, Soroptimism is an experience better shared than spoken of.

I remember clearly my first step into Soroptimist International Anaparima Club, my dear friend and sister, who I admired from childhood, asked me to conduct a session for Mental Health awareness at our alma mater. Following the session, she gently said that I should think about joining and 5 years later, despite major life changes and challenges along the way – I’m glad that I did.

“I believe in the power and beauty of service to others. I am a Soroptimist because we all deserve a voice and opportunities to not only live equally but thrive.”

Written by: Ahhalia Ramdass