What a strange world we’re living in at the moment!
Many of us around the world are living under Covid-19 restrictions and, as a result, several people have been asking us ‘What Are Bridgend Soroptimists Doing During Lockdown?’
As I write this blog post, at the end of May 2020, I’m currently in my 10th week of lockdown, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world. In that time, I have only left the house to go out for a walk each day and food shopping once a week.
Fortunately, we are some of the lucky ones. Although my husband and I are ‘over 60’, we are not as ‘at risk’ as many other people, and we also live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, Porthcawl. It is only a few minutes’ walk from our house to the sand dunes, Newton Burrows and onto Newton beach. And I appreciate that my lockdown experience is a world away from that being experienced by many others around the world.
How Is The Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting Women And Girls?
The Coronavirus pandemic has meant massive changes to everyone in the world, but naturally those changes have hit women and girls especially hard. There have been several reports in the news lately detailing how the Coronavirus will exacerbate gender inequalities.
As an organisation, Soroptimist International exists to help women and girls achieve equality and succeed despite the obstacles put in their way, whatever they may be. Over the past 100 years, we’ve had a lot of work to do (and have, of course, achieved many things), but it could be argued that, if ever the Soroptimists were needed, that time is now.
The pandemic has also led to a horrifying increase in violence against women. Home is not a safe place to be for many women and girls. Even right here in the UK, calls to domestic abuse hotlines have increased exponentially and women’s refuges are packed with women fleeing their abusers after weeks of being locked away with them.
Parents being unable to work means that poverty is on the increase again and children are particularly at risk. Here in the UK, food bank use has once again increased and food parcels are being delivered to children who would normally receive a free school meal.
On the whole, the picture is grim for many women and girls. However, for those suffering at the moment, organisations such as the Soroptimists have sprung into action to do what we can to help.
What Are Soroptimists Doing During Lockdown?
As an organisation, Soroptimists across the UK have been working hard on various projects to help their local and global communities. And despite being on lockdown ourselves, the members of Bridgend Soroptimists have been working hard too to help where we can.
As a Club we have supported our local women’s refuge in a variety of different ways for many years. Members were keen to continue to this support and made a donation to Calan DVS to help women who flee their situation during this time and provide them with sanctuary and hope.
Several Bridgend Soroptimists have been busy sewing. They have made 55 Scrubs bags for local NHS staff at the Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend and at Felindre Hospital in Cardiff. This was much appreciated and the nurses have made a request for more bags.
Our nimble-fingered ladies have also been making face masks. These are available to all Club members, as well as friends and family, in exchange for a small donation to our SIGBI project Empowering Girls in Nepal.
Our President, Sharon, has signed up as a volunteer well-being coach for the NHS and has also been providing online support for the local Mental Health Board throughout the lockdown.
As well as the knitting, crocheting and crafting, Bridgend Soroptimists have been gardening, building chicken runs, planting and sowing seeds, and catching up on those long-neglected projects that have been hanging around.
Members are thinking of their own well-being too and, deprived of face-to-face contact, are staying connected and communicating with each other. As well as chatting by phone, they are discovering new ways of communicating and embracing WhatsApp, Facetime, Messenger, Facebook, Skype, Zoom and the like. As President Sharon says, “It is exciting to be creating such a positive digital community. We’re having coffee mornings, afternoon cuppas, quizzes, singalongs and birthday parties, as well as Soroptimist meetings, of course. Whilst it has been a steep learning curve, it is great to connect with like-minded ladies who make you feel good.”
Would You Like To Get Involved With The Soroptimists?
Of course, whilst we may be in week 10 of lockdown now, in many ways, we’ve only just got going. Although the lockdown will ease over the next few weeks, the chances are we’re going to be adapting to new ways of doing things for some time to come.
Bridgend Soroptimists will be adapting too and finding ways to support others and fundraise for projects that help women and girls both locally and globally.
If you’d like to get involved with us and find out more about being a Soroptimist or if you have an idea for how Bridgend Soroptimists can help you or your organisation, please do get in touch with us using the contact form on the website. Alternatively, you can email us direct at firstname.lastname@example.org
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