Members of SI Bridgend were joined by friends both near and far in their celebrations for International Night.
“We usually have a celebration evening on or around 10th December which is UN Human Rights Day.” explains Bridgend Soroptimist President Sharon. “As well as sharing fun and friendship, we use the evening to focus on the Soroptimist International President’s Appeal. The restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic were not going to stop us, and although we acknowledged that it would be a bit different this year, little did we realise how amazing it would be!”
Invitations were sent out to join us in our virtual celebrations. Alongside Bridgend members, we welcomed our Regional President Heidi, members from SI Haverfordwest, Cardiff, Swansea and Pontypridd, as well as from our long-standing Friendship link SI Courtenay in British Columbia, Canada. How fantastic it was to see so many smiling faces in festive and sparkling attire.
The evening started off with a celebration of the flags of our own Federation (SIGBI – Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland) and acknowledgement of our membership of a global organisation with five Federations worldwide. It was very poignant as members lit a candle for each SIGBI country.
As we reviewed the last year – and, in spite of our lack of physical meetings, what an amazing, caring and productive year it has been – there was a realisation how similar many of the projects are that both SI Bridgend and SI Courtenay are working on. We’re looking forward to creating even closer links through our project work in 2021.
We also heard more about The Road To Equality, the Soroptimist International President’s Appeal. The project is a two-year “road trip” to find and empower women and girls who have been left behind. The Appeal is raising awareness of the human rights challenges particularly around child marriage, FGM, the rights of older women, human trafficking, migration and domestic violence all of which prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential.
It was particularly interesting to gain a personal insight into International President Sharon Fisher’s Appeal from members of SI Courtenay as Sharon is a “local” on Vancouver Island and has visited the Club on many occasions.
The evening closed with thanks and greetings from Regional President Heidi and a reminder from Bridgend Soroptimist Sylvia who, through a story about the magnificent Redwood trees, illustrated that together we are stronger.
With the formal proceedings at an end, the chatter and friendship continued well into the night!