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Club News TO 2018



President Anne looks forward to meeting you at our annual INTERNATIONAL NIGHT.This year we will be gathering at the Pitbauchly Hotel for an evening of information sharing and friendship.

The speakers this year are our own Agnes and Tina who will present an update on ‘Humanities and Inclusion’, which previously was called Handicap International. Did you know that Soroptimist International first worked with Handicap International in 1999 when the Quadrennial Project was ‘Limbs for Life’?

A short presentation will also be given on the current SI President’s Appeal ‘ Women, Water and Leadership’.


We are delighted to say that our first pop up shop was very well supported. Thanks must go to all who donated items, who bought items and who helped to run the shop. Thanks also to the Kingsgate Centre for the use of the empty shop. We were pleased that a couple of staff from Better World Books were able to help on the first day of sales. More information to follow

The funds raised over the 3 days will be split between 2 charities which we support: Fife Women’s Aid and FRASAC (Fife Rape and Sexual Assault Centre). Presentation of cheques will be held in November

NOW OPEN pop-up-shop in the Kingsgate Shopping Centre, Dunfermline on 28 and 29 September. Open 9:30 – 4:30 each day.

Lots of new and gently used items for sale; come and find some toys for the kids’ Christmas or a pair of shoes and handbag and some sparkly jewellery for a ladies night out. We look forward to meeting you.


At our first meeting of the autumn  Liz Wilson from Playlist for Life described the charity set up by Sally Magnusson after losing her mum to dementia. She highlighted the difficulties experienced by both the dementia sufferer and their families and carers, using individual stories and some video shots. Developing a Playlist for Life entails collecting music which is personal and has meaning for the person living with dementia. The music is listened to through headphones from a personal   iPod or similar. This can be used to stimulate fond memories and emotional reactions. Using chosen music can promote conversation and strengthen relationships; improve mood and awareness and help people feel ‘a sense of self’ when becoming confused.

Check out the website  for information and a guide to creating your own or a loved one’s playlist. If you want to speak to someone call 0141 404 0683.

OUR SUMMER OUTING was to Charleston on the 28th June. Robin Sharp guided the party through a tour of historic Charleston. The evening was warm and sunny with the walk starting at the Elgin Hotel. Robin painted the picture of the busy harbour with the cargo of local lime and coal leaving on sailing ships. He had several old photos of the harbour illustrating the various aspects of the village. The structure of the lime kilns and the method of transporting the raw and finished products through the village led the group passed Campsie House, the Gin Head and the Sutlery before finishing at the Green. After Robin described the timescales of the building of the cottages in the Rows the Soroptimists thanked Robin for his interesting talk. The group then retired for a pleasant evening of socialising and supper.

Plastic-free Dunfermline

James Daw founder of Plastic-free Dunfermline spoke to the meeting in June, describing his and his family’s approach to reducing the use of plastics in their home. He gave examples of taking his own containers to put meat or other goods in which meant that no single use plastic was used to wrap goods; the reuse of unavoidable plastic containers such as large milk bottles as storage containers and the purchase of loose dried goods from a store in Edinburgh. Having described how to reduce, reuse or refuse use of plastics  he shared an uncomfortable review of the damage plastics are causing across the world. There are many films, documentaries and articles showing the problems resulting from the use and more importantly the way plastics do not decompose and the havoc on both wild life and people. Check out the facebook page Plastic-free Dunfermline for information and suggestions to cut down or out your use of single use plastics and shared good ideas.

At the meeting on April 19th  Soroptimist International of Dunfermline was delighted to hear Dr Margaret Hannah describe what she understands as the 5 waves for Public Health. Her first wave is all about identifying the need for and therefore developing provision of clean water and safe sewage systems. Germ theory is the second wave of discovery is that germs were being passed on due to medical people not washing hands between treating patients; this needed new practices and the availability of clean water.

The third wave brought us into the time of The Beveridge Report in 1942 which identified the five giants that afflict health: Want, Ignorance, Disease, Squalor and Idleness; and the introduction of the National Health Service Act in 1948. Risk factors and relationships between behaviour and ill health and the inequality in health is the forth wave and as such can still be seen as important today. Eradicating poverty will improve health world-wide. We were reminded that the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday this year and look forward little anecdotes which can be used to build a peoples history of the NHS in Fife.

Dr Hannah suggests the fifth wave as ‘Big Macro Economic Issues and global governance’. Several methods to address these include- developing new ways to include and transcend old way; thinking globally and acting locally; and starting small scale through learning. Many questions were generated from this informative and thought provoking talk before Mary Scott provided the vote of thanks to Dr Hannah.

April 2018 So where have all these months gone?

Although we have been tardy in keeping the webpage up to date -for which we apologise – we have in fact been really busy. So here is a quick update on some of our activities:

Rwenzori Project. Phase 1 of  Toilets and Safe Water. Things are moving on apace with the provision of a toilet block at Kaghowere School. See the photos in the gallery. We have also just sent money to allow the same school to undertake their water tank project.

Rwenzori Project. Additional funds have been sent for the purchase of the next set of practice exam papers for our schools. The improvement in student exam results is amazing, most pupils are now achieving Division 2.

Water, Water, Everywhere was our event to celebrate and raise money for WATER AID.Great fun followed a short reminder to the club on what Water Aid is doing.  We had a water related quiz (borrowed but adjusted from SI Falkirk’s McGonigle evening) and a tasting session and quiz. It was interesting that only 1 of our members was able to identify the G+T but every one managed to find the vinegar.

International Women’s Day– we were delighted to have Jackie Doyle a senior partner in a Glasgow law practice where she specialises in personal law. Her talk ‘Protection from spousal abuse and the new law on controlling behaviour’ was very informative and there followed a full, frank and lengthy discussion.


Fair Trade – we were pleased to have a short presentation, including photos of a Fair Trade visit to Vietnam, by Winnie Wood who has been running the Fair Trade stall at Dalgety Bay church since November 2015. Winnie stepped in at the last minute when the original speaker was forced to cancel due to illness. We also had the opportunity to buy almost every item of Fair Trade items that Winnie had brought with her. The range and quality of products was noted to have improved greatly.

In January we had a visit from  ‘ Faramach’ from Woodmill High School. Music teacher, Matt Birch, formed the Celtic Rock Band which  3 years ago. (Faramach means “ Making a Loud Noise” in Gaelic) It is made up of 7 band members (5 girls and 2 boys) and 2 girls as technical assistants.  The instruments played are guitars, mandolin, violin, keyboards, accordion and drums as well as vocals. Matt described the ethos of the group being that anyone can achieve anything they dream of; that a band can create a family feeling and that he treats the group as professionals, expecting them to act professionally at all times. Members of the band described how they have gained in self-esteem and self confidence and how the experiences have Enabled, Educated and Empowered them.  Matt had obviously investigated our Soroptimist aims which resonate with his objectives! And their music is great. CDs are available..

Elimination of Violence Against women – our speaker Elaine Stalker at Families Outside described how the organisation  supports the families of prisoners all over Scot

land on a one to one basis, including the families of those on remand. They  currently support 400 family members-men women and children. Elaine gratefully accepted a very large family of knitted teddies which they use to help communicate with withdrawn children.

November  saw us pack Christmas boxes for Frontline Fife which aims to eliminate homelessness in Fife and Christmas gift bags for Women’s Aid. For both of these exercises we were delighted to have the continued help from family, friends and people who wanted to help. We also had some fun trying to cover the shoe boxes and make sure that correct items went into the appropriate age and gender boxes.


International Night was a great success and even though the snow fell none of our members did! Our speaker Adrian Gosling from ONCALL Africa gave an interesting and inspiring talk which resulted in a number of questions and further discussions.


We are really pleased to be welcoming Emma Patton from ‘On Call Africa’ to join us at our International Night. Emma was until recently On Call Africa’s Zambia Co-ordinator. On Call Africa assists thousands of people who would otherwise have little or no access to essential healthcare services, by working to strengthen and augment existing services.

As you will know by now our International Night event will be on Thursday 14th December in the Pitbauchlie Hotel on Aberdour Road, Dunfermline. The menu has been circulated and looks wonderful. If you have not yet booked your seat please speak to Elma as soon as possible. We have been asked to arrive at 6:30 for a 7pm start.


We had been asked to present a short resume of the completion of the See Solar Cook Solar aspect of our Rwenzori project on Thursday morning of conference. Which of course we were delighted to do!

The Rwenzori project was agreed by our club to be an ongoing activity over several years which we started in 2013. Our initial aim was to enable children but in particular girls to be able to attend school by helping to remove barriers. We started with the idea that we could provide lighting to allow the girls to be able to continue their studies at night and when it became dark. As Helen was visiting the school – Musasa Primary- she agreed to take our allocated funds with her and purchase suitable individual solar lights. This proved very helpful and allowed us to plan further work; provision of Solar panels for 1 classroom and 1 computer; a Solar cooker – 1 hour of cooking to give 40 meals; and 1 Solar water purification unit.

See Solar Cook Solar’ came along just at the right time for us as we were able to successfully apply for funds to widen the scope to solar panels, storage units, lap tops along with solar cookers for Musasa primary. The funding actually resulted in Musasa gaining the above plus water collection, purification and storage system and a similar set up for another primary school nearby called Kinyaminagha. The funding was amazing and has made such an improvement to both girls and boys  lives in lots of ways; extended school hours and studies with good lighting;  improved educational grades; cooked meals with no need to spend hours collection fuel, clean water with no need to spend even more hours collecting water from doubtful sources. But the benefits have gone even wider as the teachers have gained from power and computers available, meals and clean water so health improves; and the villagers also gain from the storage of clean water and the provision of solar and eco cookers.

 So we are very happy to confirm that the See Solar Cooker Solar has more than achieved the aims identified.


This year our Charter Lunch was held at the Carnegie Conference Centre on a lovely sunny but somewhat windy day. Tina welcomed club members and a number of special guests. As Tina had chosen not to have a speaker the meal was more informal and gave everyone the time to talk and catch up with friends.

The meal was tasty and inviting as always at the CCC and in honour of Polly our ‘Portuguese returnee’ the chef prepared a special Portuguese pork dish. We were delighted to welcome other Soroptimists to the lunch. Some of the ‘office bearers’ from various levels of the organisation can be seen enjoying the sun.

What do you know about Women in Parliament?

Thursday evening saw an interactive session looking at Women in Parliament which was very interesting. Tina had taken the opportunity offered by the  UK Parliament’s Community Outreach and Engagement Service to attend a session on Women in Parliament. Vote 100 is Parliament’s project to celebrate the centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. The following “Learning Objectives” (!) were discussed through a series of stimulating questions.:

  • Describe what Parliament is and what it does.
  • Differentiate between Parliament and Government.
  • Recognise the relevance of Parliament to women.
  • Accept that women can engage with Parliament.

Did you know:

  • In 1918 women over 30 who met property qualifications were given the right to vote.
  • In 1919 Nancy Astor was the first woman MP to take her seat.
  • In 1928 the vote was given to women on the same terms as men.
  • In 1958 the first women life peers took their seats (Lady Reading and Baroness Wooton).
  • In 1979 Margaret Thatcher became the first woman Prime Minister.
  • In 1992 Betty Boothroyd was the first female Speaker of the House of Commons.
  • In 2001 Helen Liddell became the Secretary of State for Scotland.
  • In 2014 Nicola Sturgeon became the first female First Minister of Scotland

This is the first part of a series of discussions to be had in the future.


At the last meeting of Dunfermline Soroptimists, David Lyth gave a talk on his work with women in Uganda who had suffered fistula as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. His talk covered the reasons for fistula in these women and the very effective result of surgery.

Women who suffered urinary incontinence, many of them young girls, had been cast aside by husband and family. This resulted in lack of family support, no job, poor nutrition and the impact of the smell of urine due to incontinency left women in poor physical and emotional state. What was very apparent was the very strong odour which the women retained due to the incontinence of which the meeting had not really been aware. These women were able to be brought from their villages to the hospital for treatment although travel is difficult and roads almost non-existent.  Following surgical intervention and some time at the hospital to recover the women gained physical strength and with some basic education were able to return to their communities, undertake work and re-establish family relationships.  As a simple contribution to this ongoing work, the Dunfermline Soroptimists have donated more than 100 pairs of new knickers which will be send on to enable the women to have fresh underwear to go with the new dress they receive after surgery.

Tina Chapman, president-elect, was delighted to welcome SI Dunfermline’s newest member, Dr Caroline Graham, to the club. Caroline was presented with her membership certificate and badge following a short welcome and introduction. Caroline was born and grew up in Dunfermline and is a Professional Engineer and a STEM Ambassador who is currently supporting the mechanical reliability of microelectronics.

Long Service Awards 2015

SI Dunfermline held a fantastic evening of fun and friendship on the night of Thursday 26th February when we invited all our members who have given over 20 years service to our club to celebrate with us.

We enjoyed a fantastically buzzy supper and then delicious cake and coffee with a stroll down memory lane courtesy of club archivist and membership convenor, Polly and Jan.

It was a lovely night and we all hope we can do it again one day.

International Night 2014

Thursday 12th December 2014 saw SI Dunfermline celebrate our Annual International Night, think of it as our Christmas Party. It really was Christmassy this year with crackers and paper hats all round. Our speakers from the International Justice Mission were wonderful and gave examples of the extraordinary advocacy their organisation uses to support women internationally.

See more at www.ijmuk

SI Dunfermline are delighted to announce that we have donated a magnificent £551.18 to this fantastic organisation, an outstanding amount, truly the season of giving.

This welcome was followed by a very interesting and intriguing ‘job talk’  by Margaret Taylor who recently joined SI Dunfermline.

New Honorary Member

As a result of the club voting to make Lilian Cameron an Honorary member, she was visited by President Helen. Lilian was overwhelmed and very delighted that the club should have made this decision.
She is looking forward to attending some of the future meetings.

United Nations EcoSoc Committee

By way of a teaser – here is a photo of SI Dunfermline’s Eva T inside the chamber of EcoSoc at the UN in New York. Eva should be home soon with a full report.