Our first project in the autumn was to create eight boxes of useful and comforting items for young people setting up their first homes alone with the help of the charity ‘Backup’. If you have no family support to help you get started in your new life its a long and lonely road.
The plan to work with children at Fortalice, by teaching craft skills and providing the necessary materials, has been stopped by Covid. At least our members could offer a huge selection of items for children of all ages. Here they are displayed in President Carole’s kitchen before reaching their destination. We hope the gifts will a happy distraction from the difficulties facing both children and their mothers in this time of trouble.
Since 2013 members of S I Bolton have supported a scheme run by Soroptimists in Kathmandu to help girls from extremely poor families continue their education. One of the earliest girls to benefit was Mandira. Her mother was dead and she had to look after her siblings; there was no money to spare for school fees or the basic equipment such as pens and paper, let alone such things as school lunches. This is Mandira in 2020. She not only completed her education but has succeeded in obtaining a much coveted position in the police force. Kathmandu Soroptimists have given her support and the confidence to succeed.
One of this year’s Soroptimist causes is mental health awareness and support. Member Eileen Watson is famed for her delicious fundraising suppers; we enjoyed a party and raised £300 to help Building A New Direction, a local charity helping people whose circumstances have resulted in a loss of confidence and a feeling that no one cares about them and their difficulties. The comradeship and practical help given really do enable clients to see a future and make a new beginning. Members help each other and share their experiences.
For nearly twenty years Angela and Stephen Rowley have been involved in a project to help villagers in a remote part of Kenya improve their lives in a partnership to bring Clean Water Health Care Education. It started with the first water filter in Nyandiwa and now includes running water, proper toilets and a school room. The village’s first university graduates in dentistry and accountancy have completed their studies. During this summer we collected dozens of packs of knickers for the girls. Sanitary items and knickers mean girls can enjoy full time education all the time and not have to lose a week’s worth of classes each month. After an inspiring and entertaining talk by Angela Rowley we were more than happy to donate the profit from our Quiz and Adventure Evening to this splendid cause. The recent Newsletter from Angela and Stephen after their
Last week four members of our Club visited a local charity – Baby Basics – taking two Moses baskets and items to fill them. Each month between 20 and 30 baskets are given to local young women faced with the daunting problem of providing clothes and essential items for a new baby when they are struggling to house and feed themselves and their families. We were most impressed by the care and efficiency of the charity’s officers. Each basket has a precise list of items, new or carefully washed and ironed, and beautifully arranged and entirely suitable. Here Frankie admires the store of items for future baskets.
Every time you go to buy a packet of knickers for yourself, spare a thought for women in Africa who can’t afford to do this, and resort to buying second hand underwear. Second hand underwear may transmit disease, and is also a source of shame to young girls in schools and the women in rural Zambia. At our October meeting we will hear about the campaign to give our sisters in Africa comfort and dignity. Slip a pack of size 12 – 14 knickers into your shopping trolley and bring them along to our meetingon October 1st.
Invited to our August Speaker meeting was Wayne Roper, Bolton’s Recycling and Waste Prevention Officer. Some of what he told us was familiar because recycling is now part of our lifestyle and plastis one of our obsessions, but he had some interesting points to make. Easier to remember is the instruction “only plastic bottles can be recycled because other things are not made of Grade 1 plastic.” But there is no need to feel too guilty about such things as yoghurt pots because plastic burns at a high temperature and helps “burnable rubbish” to burn well and generate electricity. Leave the tops on bottles because loose tops get stuck in the machinery – the sorting process will deal with them. His description of what happens to our green waste was graphic to say the least – a video on YouTube (https://youtu.be/Ez3zrpuvXGW – will show you Greater Manchester’s
Members of SI Bolton have for many years taken an interest in environmental issues, supporting schemes such as “National Spring Cleaning Week” and “Keep Britain Tidy Roadside Care”. They chose to take responsibility for a stretch of the Bolton ring road stretching from Halliwell Rd to Moss Bank Park. At the park gates an enthusiastic group of us don high vis jackets and rubber gloves, grabbing “grabbers ” and plastic bags provided by the local authority and also subsequently collected by them. Road signs also indicate that SI Bolton Club maintains the area. Keeping these signs fixed in the right place is a job for the tallest member present! (see photo at end of article) In 1988 the Mayor of Bolton presented a Civic Pride Award to the Club. Items of litter collected are mainly small, often discarded from vehicles; larger items that have been collected
At our last Speaker Meetng, Hannah Flint from “Stop the Traffik” came to talk to us about the work of the organisation. Modern Day Slavery and Exploitation is a big problem globally but particularly in the UK. Modern Day Slavery can take many forms – sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, forced criminality involving growing, carrying and selling drugs in particular. Other forms of Modern Day slavery in the UK are victims of forced marriage, sham marriage, street sex workers, (e.g “pop-up” brothels in Manchester). Help is available but requires the victim to be aware of this help and be able to access it. There is a National Referral Mechanism, funded by the Government, where victims can access legal aid, counselling and support workers to help them through the process. The Salvation Army and other organisations are also involved. Hannah explained her role in the “Stop the Traffik” organisation