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Friendship Links

International Day of Friendship

In 1946, the revival of Soroptimism at International level started to take place and the idea of friendship links was formed.  Soroptimist International used to have Friendship Days, which were held during the 2nd year of the 4-year cycle.  At this time, there was the changeover of the International President.

The 3rd October is now Soroptimist International Friendship Day, a date set aside to remember our founders.  That date being the date on which Violet Richardson Ward launched the first Soroptimist Club in Oakland USA[1].

Violet Richardson Ward became well known in the Bay Area for her work in health and physical education.  As a result, she was asked to join a new organisation for women in 1921.  She met with several professional women in Oaklandand after interviewing her they asked her to join them.  The organisation was all about service, about professional and businesswomen, and she was promised that it would become an international organisation.  This was very important to her.  So important, that she only joined after being assured by the organiser that it would develop into an international organisation for women.

The group met for weeks until there were 80 of them ready to charter a new club.  They decided to call themselves “Soroptimists” – a coined word from two Latin words:

“soro” meaning women and “optima” meaning best — thus the phrase “the best for women” was developed.

The women asked Violet Ward to serve as the Charter President, which she deemed to be a great honour.  On October 3, 1921 in the Oakland Hotel, she was installed as the Charter President of the Soroptimist Club ofAlamedaCounty,OaklandUSAand was inducted into membership along with 79 other women.

Friendship Links are the Soroptimists’ way of linking with other Clubs worldwide to share projects and offer support and friendship.  Often in times of tragedy, Friendship Links are there offering help, financial aid and support where possible.[2]

Members enjoy learning about the country and culture of their Friendship Link.  They have the opportunity of exchanging hospitality and visiting with their Soroptimist Sisters and attending special events.

Friendship Links are taken very seriously and Clubs are requested annually to complete a Registration Form to ensure details are correct and any new links or alterations are included in the Directory.

In order that a Friendship Link can be made, a Club makes a formal request to a Club of their choice.  If the invitation is accepted, a form is completed and returned to the Federation Friendship Link    Co-ordinator for registration.  Once the link has been formalised, a letter of confirmation and a Friendship Link Certificate is sent to each Club to be signed by their President and then exchanged, giving each Club documentation of their link.

Members are kept up to date with interesting news of projects, visits and new Friendship Links by means of a Newsletter written by the Federation Friendship Link Co-ordinator that is produced in January, May and September every year.

On International Friendship Day, SI Cirencester and District are very pleased to remember the Friendship links it has with the following Clubs:

S.I. Bury, UK

S.I Durham, Uk

SI/Europe Itzehoe, Germany

SI/Europe Ogre-Kegums, Latvia


Our Friendship Link Officer, Jackie Gloyn, has sent messages of friendship to each of these Clubs.

To finish with a quote from a statement by VioletRichardsonWard at the end of her presidency at the Soroptimist Club ofAlamedaCounty:

‘’Let us continue to work together and with others, toward the development of a better womanhood, a better manhood, and a better citizenship.’’


[1] Details provided by Pat Shore, Friednship Link Co-ordinator Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI)

[2] Biologue of Founder Vioelt Richardson, The Camino Real Region of Soroptimist International