Previous Project Work
Each year club members discuss and agree which projects the club will support. These are a mix of local, national and international projects.
To find out more and how these projects, and others we are involved with, have transformed the lives of women and girls, please contact us via twitter @chestersi, firstname.lastname@example.org, or facebook.com/Soroptimistchester.
Some of our most proud achievements have been through working with partners:
- We worked with toilettwinning.org to bestow Toilet Twinned status on the City of Chester – the first UK city to achieve this – by encouraging local organisations, schools, businesses and churches to twin their loo.
- We donated £300 worth of high street vouchers to Chester Aid for the Homeless so that they could provide female clients with an opportunity to purchase new underwear.
Soroptimist International members also use the power of their global network to work on joint projects and these are generally international in flavour.
See Solar Cook Solar was an international project providing:
- solar cookers (to reduce time taken for women to collect firewood and safer, more economical and environmentally sustainable alternatives to traditional stoves);
- solar lanterns (to extend study time for school children and to provide light in refugee camps);
- solar panels to a school.
This project was mediated by local Soroptimist Clubs, which ensured strong, local governance. Further information is available at: http://www.soroptimistinternational.org/our-projects/december-10-appeal/see-solar-cook-solar
Classrooms in the Cloud
CitCNepal is a registered charity (1170522) and exists to support education in Nepal. It achieves this by building schools, supporting the employment and professional development of teachers and providing resources to promote the education of children. CitCNepal works in partnership with local communities and operates in a culturally empathetic way as a means of creating sustainable solutions. The charity was registered in 2007 and has built classrooms in remote, mountainous regions of Nepal, sponsored teachers in village schools and employed a Nepal-based Education Development Manager. They have also successfully arranged international teacher exchanges between Nepali teachers with counterparts in the UK. CitCNepal is a voluntary-run organisation with its Trustees all taking an active part in the running of the charity. This means that the vast majority of charity income is spent in Nepal where it is needed the most.
The Soroptimist International Club in Chester have worked with CitCNepal for 2 years, helping them successfully bid for a programme of work to:
- Provide professional training for CitC supported (female) teachers
- Funding for 2 female peripatetic teachers, to support gender equality in schools and train on menstrual health hygiene
- Provide resources to schools, including materials to make reusable menstrual kits
Locally, SI Chester brought together CitCNepal and a local school The Bishops’ Blue Coat Church of England High School, Chester. Bishops and CitCNepal have successfully worked together on a joint science education initiative on personal hygiene & hand-washing. They now hope to extend this relationship through a teacher exchange programme, providing opportunities for their teachers to learn through classroom observation, mentoring and team teaching – a proven strategy to improve the quality of educational practice.
Inspiring the next generation of girls in an unequal society, which is still largely patriarchal, is a priority for CitCNepal and SI Chester and therefore the inclusion of female teachers will be a key aspect.
Fundraising Target of £3,500 will enable 2 teachers to visit from Nepal (return flights & subsistence).
In 2015-17 Soroptimist International President Yvonne Simpson’s Nepal-based Appeal aimed to make a difference to the lives of women and girls following the devastating earthquakes of 2015, through education and leadership.
Educate to Lead: Nepal
Projects funded by the Appeal were varied and ranged from building schools to providing scholarships
With the help of SI Chester, a local Charity – Classrooms in the Clouds – (CITC) successfully applied for funding of £32,780.00 for:
- Teacher Training Programme
- Sponsorship of two Peripatetic Female Support Workers
- Teacher/Student Resources including Menstrual Hygiene Kits
CITC commented: ‘The bid is facilitating the CITC ‘Inspire Programme’ with intensive and focused training for at least 10 CITC sponsored teachers and more than 1,200 girls.
As well as Intensive Teacher Training and mentoring, CITC are providing follow up support through 2 Educational Support Workers working in the classroom alongside CITC teachers in at least 10 schools in the remote regions of Nepal. Developing child-centred learning approaches using the ‘Train the Trainer’ model, CITC will also be supporting First Aid and Menstrual Health training to benefit women and girls in village schools and support more approaches to female health and welfare. Involving the whole school community, CITC’s Inspire programme will support gender equality in schools and develop strong female role models through CITC’s female teachers and CITC partners in the school and village communities.
Empowering women and girls to continue education, breaking down barriers and creating supportive, gender friendly school communities.”
CitC’s menstrual health and first aid training programme is going from strength to strength, supporting female students to overcome the social stigma of menstruation and facilitating menstrual health management. Numerous workshops have taken place at schools across the rural Solukhumu region of Nepal. CITC sponsored teacher Phambi Rai has been key in coordinating the recent training, acting as an inspirational role model to the parents and female students.
“We missed school when we had our periods and had to work at home but after receiving the menstrual kit, we feel confident and are able to come to school regularly.”
Tenjina Basnet, Grade 8. Sotang
“students come (to school) regularly after getting menstrual kit, pads are comfortable to use, they saved their money. Pads are easy to wash and dry, they are thankful to CITC Nepal.” Mingma Chhamji Sherpa – CITC Educational Support Worker.
First Aid training has also been carried out at the schools, helping the community with practical advice and skills to keep their children safe.
Meru Garden Federation Project
This 3 year project is being supported by all of the clubs in our Soroptimist Federation after being chosen at our Conference in 2015. It will support some of the poorest women-led households in the Meru District of Kenya and focuses on providing women and girls with the opportunity to earn an income, thus giving them status within their community. We have partnered for this project with the charity Child.org
By teaching agricultural skills women will be able to improve food production, thereby reducing extreme hunger, enabling self-sufficiency and sustainable gardens. It will also improve girls attendance and achievement at secondary school by the creation of breakfast clubs.
One of our members, Jodie, visited the Meru project in Kenya on a Soroptimist International Study Tour in 2018, and has delivered a number of presentations to different groups to provide an update and learnings from the Tour.
SI Chester has held a number of fundraising activities over the time period of the project raising £2108: including raffles, gardening-themed afternoon tea, a photography competition to celebrate our second anniversary as a Club and donations from members and from EasyFundraising Cashback.
In 2015 SI Chester promoted Toilet Twinning in Chester. £60 donated gets your own toilet twinned with that in a country where it’s needed. £60 doesn’t just buy a toilet though – it goes into educating a village or community of the benefits of good sanitation and using a latrine, which leads the community to build and maintain their own facilities. This directly supports the Sustainable Development Goals SDG6: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.
The lack of suitable facilities in a community can adversely affect the women and girls of that community disproportionately. Girls can often be unable to go to school once a week out of every month after they reach puberty due to lack of separate toilets (or any toilet), and at night there are additional dangers and threats if a girl or woman has to go into the fields in order to go to the toilet. Obviously the benefits of improved health benefit a whole community, and usually it is the woman who is the care-giver, so if there are fewer illness days the women in the community tend to benefit the most.
We achieved the milestone of helping Chester be an official Toilet Twin City (where a significant number of toilets in the city are twinned). It’s not too late to twin your toilet – visit www.toiltetwinnng.org for more information.
Supporting Orphans In Sierra Leone
In 2015 we supported the charity Street Child, in their work in Sierra Leone and Liberia. We decided to raise funds for Street Child’s Girls Speak Out Appeal for children left orphaned following the devastating ebola outbreak. We held two events in December 2015. Firstly we held two sessions where members were able to enjoy seasonal refreshments whilst having a demonstration of how to make Christmas Garlands. Later in the month we spent two days bag packing at a local supermarket. Altogether we raised £725 and Street Child were able to take advantage of a Government scheme to match this funding – our donation therefore amounted to £1,450.00. This is the equivalent of sending 73 girls to school for a year!
For further information see www.street-child.co.uk