Programme Action is what Soroptimism is all about. As Soroptimists we are committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential. Programme Action is the vehicle by which we achieve this goal. Each club selects programme action projects on which to work. These projects can be local, regional, national or international in their focus. All members are expected to get involved in programme action, and are free to take part in as many projects as they feel able. Projects fit into one of the following key programme areas:
- Elimination of Violence
- Economic Empowerment
- Food Security
- Environmental Sustainability/water and sanitation
- Conflict resolution/peace promotion
- Disaster mitigation and relief
The women who seek refuge at the Centre often arrive with nothing. Every autumn Club Members, together with help from friends, collect toiletries and other useful items for the women at the Crisis Centre. These items are then divided up into shoe boxes (one for each woman at the Centre), gift wrapped, and taken to the Centre for distribution at Christmas. Any items left over are given to the Centre for use as birthday and other presents during the year. Items suitable for children and young teenagers are also collected and given to the Centre for distribution to the children there.
This is a Regional project. The women who arrive at this hospital for treatment, usually have nothing, and the project started with members knitting squares, which are then made up into blankets. Each patient is given a blanket – the nights are very cold in Ethiopia – which they are allowed to keep when they are well enough to leave the hospital. Because of the success of the treatment these women receive, many of them are able to go full term with their pregnancies. The project, therefore, has now been extended to include baby clothes and cot blankets.
SICB has had a long association with VSO, organising fund raising events to help finance the work of volunteers. Club is linked to a specific volunteer, who keeps members informed of the work they are undertaking and their experiences whilst on placement. Our most recent linked volunteer is Sheila, who is currently on a placement in Cambodia. Updates soon!
SICB holds its regular meetings at the College, which is based in Harborne. Members endeavour to support the work of the College in a number of ways – for example:
- the Club has established an Annual Achievement Award, which is awarded to the student deemed to have made the best progress during the year;
- members regularly act as ‘sighted guides’ for visitors to the College’s Annual Sight Village – the leading exhibition of specialised equipment and services for the blind ;
- the Club made a donation to the College towards the cost of a new Sports Hall;
- students from the College have visited the Club to talk about their experiences at QAC, and how they have been helped.
Other Recent Activities
Elimination of Violence Against Women
In November 2015, to mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Club organised a Forum to discuss the problems surrounding this very difficult and diverse subject. Approximately 70 people attended – from other Soroptimist Clubs in the Region and members of local organisations working in this area. Following presentations by a panel of experts and a question and answer session, the audience divided into groups to discuss specific topics relating to Violence Against Women. It is hoped that the success of this event will lead to a number of projects in the future.
Cardiac Risk in the Young
Members assisted at a cardiac screening hosted by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). The event was held at QAC in Harborne, and young people aged 14 to 35 had the opportunity to undergo an ECG test. If abnormalities are found the individual concerned is referred for further tests.
New Life Baptist Church Food Bank – Kings Heath
Members of Club were heavily involved in the establishment of this Food Bank, and now assist, when required, at Food Collection Days.
Awareness Raising Talks
During 2015 Club received presentations on the following topics:
- The Birmingham Crisis Centre
- The Cambodia Child’s Dream
- Bryony House
- QAC – the Students’ experience
- The ARC Project
- NSPCC Schools Service presenting Childline workshops for Children
- Dalit Freedom Network
- The Birmingham Personal Support Unit, based at the Civil & Family Court
- The West Midlands Lieutenancy
The Lobby Group
Underpinning the programme action work of the Club is its Lobby Group. This Group keeps under review a number of local and national issues of interest and/or concern. It advises members of any developments, and undertakes lobbying activity on behalf of the Club when required.
For further information about Programme Action in general, and what is going on at other Clubs, at Regional level, or at Federation level, please go to:
- p25-6 of the SIGBI new members handbook: www.sigbi.org/members/files/New-Members-Pack-January-2016.pdf.