Club Projects Session 1

Four Club/Region projects were presented in this session:

Soroptimists in Ireland have been working hard to raise awareness of the White Ribbon campaign.

The campaign is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls and was formed by a group of pro-feminist men in 1991 as a response to the massacre of female students at the École Polytechnique in Ontario in 1989. The campaign raises awareness about the prevalence of male violence against women, with the ribbon symbolising “the idea of men giving up their arms.”

Soroptimists say people who wear a white ribbon pledge ‘never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women’ and that most men are opposed to violence against women and girls.

Shocking statistics reveal that in 2014/15 in Northern Ireland, almost 28,300 incidents with a domestic motivation were reported to the PSNI. In addition, police responded to a domestic incident every 19 minutes of every day. Also during 2014/15, there were a reported 13,426 domestic abuse crimes, accounting for around 13 per cent of the overall crime in Northern Ireland.

Soroptimists in Scotland have been raising awareness and funds for Seema’s Project (a project of the Free to Live Trust, which was co-founded by a Soroptimist in Dundee and her husband).

The project aims to rescue and re-home forty children who are the offspring of trafficked sex workers and who currently live in cramped conditions in the red-light district of the Indian city of Pune.

Seema Waghmode and her husband have worked for 25 years to improve the lives of trafficked sex workers, and the home for these children is being built on their farm.

The home is nearly finished, but still needs furnishing and fundraising is still ongoing for the expenses of maintaining the home.  Some of the children have moved in now and have much more space to play and study.

SI Bristol’s President’s Charity 2016-2017 was to support “Off the Record”, who provide free counselling and support to young sufferers at their point of need.  Mental health problems among children & young people (ages 11-25) are on the increase and SI Bristol have helped to fund Off The Record’s education, empowerment and enabling programmes that support the development of emotional health & well-being among children & young people. Their services are free confidential and independent. Issues tackled include depression low self-esteem eating disorders anger grief family breakdown & abuse.

The Club held fundraising activities – the main ones being a concert which included Showstoppers, a University singing group, and a bridge day hosted by Bristol Bridge Club. At both events, which were well attended, Off The Record spoke, advocating & encouraging support for mental health. The Club also hosted an evening with prize winning author Nathan Filer an advocate for mental health issues who evoked good discussion.

The Club raised £4500 to help fund Off The Record’s programmes.

SI Chester applied to the WOW (Women of the World) Committee to be participants in the WOW Festival and were given a stall in the Marketplace.  The Club is a Purple Product Seller (formerly Philippines Community Fund) and they sold products (jewellery and bags). The fund seeks to educate marginalised women and help them to earn a living without resorting to working on rubbish dumps. The Club also collected signatures for the Purple Teardrop Campaign.

This is the first time that the Festival has visited the North West. It was launched in the South Bank in 2010 and is a global movement which champions gender equality and celebrates the achievements of women. It also examines obstacles to keeping them from fulfilling their potential. SI Chester thought that we could use it to raise awareness of our two Purple Projects (Purple Community Fund and Purple Teardrop Campaign) as well as to raise awareness about the new Chester Club.