Safer Places is an independent charity in Essex and Hertfordshire providing a safe environment for women and children affected by domestic abuse. There is a refuge house in our area and women and their children arrive there, often with nothing. When, eventually, they are found accommodation and leave to start a new life in a new home, they need everything. Each month the club provides a Starter Bag of basic items, such as washing up liquid, kitchen towels, etc. for a woman leaving the refuge.
From time to time we have promotional stands in Chelmsford’s city centre and other nearby venues, raising awareness of significant issues affecting women and girls, and what Soroptimists are doing to help.
Currently we support Safer Places (the local Women’s Refuge). In the past we have fundraised and campaigned for a wide variety of projects: from 2016 to 2019 we collected funds for the Meru Women’s Garden Project, and assisted with a national survey assessing awareness of trafficking in the UK. Previously we have raised awareness of Toilet Twinning, which seeks to provide safe and hygienic sanitation in developing countries, and Neat Feet Happy Hands, the project to eliminate “Jiggers”, a flea born infection, in Africa . We have supported the anti-trafficking Purple Teardrop campaign in two ways: by collecting previously loved bras to help set up trafficked women with their own businesses; and collecting signatures for a fabric-based petition, urging fashion manufacturers to ensure their supply chains are slavery-free.
The Meru Women’s Garden Project was a three-year collaborative project between Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) and the charity Child.org, which we at SI Chelmsford & District were pleased to support. Through agricultural training, it aimed to provide income-earning opportunities for some of the poorest women-led households in Kenya, while also providing life-changing ‘alternative rites of passage’ for young girls who might otherwise be subjected to female genital mutilation.
World Literacy Day
Supporting local children and women and girls by raising funds to purchase books.
Rosie May Foundation
We are supporting the Rosie May foundation by sponsoring a girl in Sri Lanka. Their aims include reuniting children to strengthen family ties, create meaningful projects for children and to focus on gender equality by empowering girls and young women to break the cycle of poverty.
Best of Sisters Award
to recognise a woman who lives, works or is being educated in the Chelmsford area, who is making a difference to women and/or girls, and deserves recognition.