Canterbury Soroptimists were delighted to welcome our friends from CIFORD, Kenya and SI Meru, Kenya to our January club zoom meeting. Margaret Ikiara, is founder and director of CIFORD (Community Inititiatives for Rural Development) a community based organisation working in the Meru District of Eastern Province. She grew up, studied and has spent her working life supporting her communities and we’ve been inspired by and supported her work for many years. http://www.cifordkenya.org Jane Wanja, is a member and current president of SI Meru who we established a Friendship Link with over three years ago. We try to identify and discuss common issues and support their work when we can. Some of our members had the amazing opportunity to meet Margaret and Jane and see some of their work during a Soroptimist study visit to Meru in 2018. Zoom provided the opportunity to attend
SI Canterbury marked Burns Night with a Virtual Supper and entertainment, raising £110 for Justice and Care. Until we did our research we hadn’t realised that, before becoming famous, Robbie Burns was part of the slave trade when he worked on a Jamaican sugar plantation. He became an abolitionist, writing poems such as The Slave’s Lament, hated injustice and was eventually able to return to Scotland. The abolitionists’ badges contained the words: Am I not a man and a brother? Or as we sing with our Burns, ‘that man to man the world o’er, shall brothers be for a’ that. It was a lovely evening with all the traditional elements together with joyful and poignant moments from poetry and song. We look forward to being together again instead of singing Auld Lang Syne on Zoom.
Over the summer we were able to stay distanced from each other while we spent time cleaning some of the beaches. Very therapeutic!
March 2020 ~The virus arrived and we donned our masks and collected money for our charities in the Whitstable Junior School playground used as a car park at weekends. Our club meetings now by Zoom
Club members were at the opening event for this year’s POW! Festival (Power of Women) which took place at the Royal Victoria Pavilion in Ramsgate on 6 March.
On 1 March 2020 seven members took part in the walk from Hampton Pier to Reculver Towers which has memorials along the way to Amy Johnson, a pioneering female pilot, who crashed off the coast of Herne Bay.
Canterbury Soroptimists held a fundraising supper in support of the SIGBI Federation Project 2019-2020, ‘Empowering Girls in Nepal’, and the Canterbury Foodbank. Our donations raised £260 and we enjoyed an evening of festive cheer, friendship and generosity. Many thanks to Jane and David Webb for hosting this lovely event.
Canterbury Soroptimists were joined by over a hundred people for our Silent March to raise awareness about the United Nations 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based violence against women and girls. We were joined by the Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Bishop of Dover, Rosie Duffield, Parliamentary Candidate for Canterbury, and Annie Lyttle, former Director, Rising Sun (Domestic Violence and Abuse Charity) who all addressed the large group before we set off. We were also joined by Soroptimists from Thanet, Maidstone, Medway Towns, Folkestone and Tunbridge Wells plus the Mother’s Union, the Womens Equality Party, Rising Sun, White Ribbon, the Sustainable Development Forum, the Ethnic Minority Council and many family and friends. Everyone agreed that walking in solidarity and silence through the ancient streets of Canterbury, to raise awareness about violence against women and girls, was a moving and powerful experience.
Canterbury Soroptimists once more attended the annual Remembrance Day Parade through Canterbury and the service at Canterbury Cathedral that followed. Millie, Jane, Maggie, our two Dawns and Annie were honoured to join other organisations in this poignant event and to lay a wreath on behalf of the club.
Canterbury Soroptimists represented the club in the Peace Procession at the UN Service for World Peace at Canterbury Cathedral. Dr Carl Wright gave a powerful address about Climate Emergency, Zero Carbon and Global Peace. The audience was also inspired by an impassioned speech by thirteen year old Pascal Sleigh representing YouthStrike4Climate. The service also included beautiful readings, prayers and singing by the Canterbury Singers and the Canterbury Gospel Choir. All of this in the wonderful surroundings of Canterbury Cathedral.