Canterbury Soroptimists, local dignitaries and finalists from our Inspirational woman of the Year competition were invited to an interesting talk at Canterbury Guildhall followed by an award ceremony at Tower House organised by Canterbury Sheriff Anne Decker. Zoe Bell, Director of East Kent Rape Crisis Centre was presented with a framed certificate to mark her winning achievement. Finalist Natalie Mbunga, an active volunteer supporting ethnic minorities in the region and founder of Clarence’s Workshops, also received her certificate in recognition of her achievement as a finalist. Soroptimists who attended enjoyed the opportunity to meet Zoe and Natalie in person and learn more about their work. The lovely surroundings and refreshments provided by the Sheriff was also very much appreciated by all.
In celebration of our 60th anniversary SI Canterbury have donated 60 trees to be planted to support the environment and climate change initiative. 30 avocado trees have been donated to our friends at CIFORD in Meru, Kenya/SI Meru. They hope to begin planting when the rains come. Simon Langton Girls School in Canterbury will receive the other 30 trees to plant in their grounds.
As part of our 60th Anniversary celebrations SI Canterbury held a competition to highlight the exceptional achievements of women during this difficult time and to bring them to public attention. Nominations for the most inspirational woman were received from friends, partner organisations and colleagues and on June 19th the winner was announced by Anne Dekker, Sheriff of Canterbury. The announcement came during a zoom event for finalists, Soroptimists and guests. We are delighted to announce that our Inspirational Woman of Canterbury 2021 is: Zoe Bell, Director of East Kent Rape Crisis Centre (EKRCC), which supports women survivors of sexual violence. Zoe’s outstanding professional and personal commitment to helping women has gained her the admiration of her colleagues and the people she serves. Zoe has ensured there is funding for the wide ranging services that EKRCC offers as well as delivering services
Our club is 60 this year and aimed to pack 60 handbags for the Love Grace appeal. Each bag is packed with basic toiletries for women escaping domestic abuse. We exceeded our target and, in partnership with Rising Sun domestic abuse service, we packed 97 bags.
Canterbury Soroptimists celebrated our 60th year with a lovely picnic in Dane John Gardens. It was the first time we had met in person for 15 months and a wonderful celebration of our club.
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.