Our members are involved in many voluntary and community activities on an individual level. But much of the ethos of Soroptimism is improving the lot of women and girls, not just in our locality, but all round the world. As a Club we may be a small drop in the ocean of need, but as part of a large international organisation, we feel we are making a difference.
Here are some of the things we do:
During 2017-18 we will be continuing to support the Meru Women’s Garden Project, which is being supported by many other Soroptimist Clubs as well. In addition, we will be supporting the Mary’s Meals project which provides meals and education for children in poor areas of developing countries.
We have worked with our Soroptimist link club in Japan, SI Nara, on various projects including improving conditions for children affected by the Japanese tsunami and its associated nuclear fall-out, raising money for work with street children in Kenya, Love-in-a-Box (see below) and the Meru Women’s Garden Project.
In recent years we have raised money for the Eastbourne Samaritans, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Changing Faces, the JPK Project, the Citizens’ Advice Bureau, breast cancer charities, the Pestalozzi Village and Médecins sans Frontières‘ work with Ebola victims.
But Soroptimism isn’t just about raising funds. Here are some of our other activities:
We support the local women’s refuge with parcels of toiletries, Easter eggs, etc., and give money so that the children based there can buy small presents for their mothers on Mother’s Day.
We also support the Eastbourne Food Bank and will be holding informal events to raise money and provide items for the Food Bank.
Every autumn we fill shoe-boxes with small gifts to be given to children in deprived areas of South-East Europe; this is part of the Love in a Box project, run by the Eastbourne-based charity Mustard Seed Relief Mission.
A recent initiative had Club members sewing heart-shaped cushions for the local hospital to give to women recovering from mastectomies – they’re more comfortable to use than conventional cushions. And we continue to knit small blankets for the local Foodbank to distribute.
In the past we have campaigned at Eastbourne Borough Council level about the dangers to wildlife and property caused by helium-filled and ‘Chinese’ balloons, lobbied for a more regular breast-screening schedule in the Hailsham area, and helped with beach cleans and surveys for the Marine Conservation Society.
At present Club members are involved with the WASPI campaign which is fighting for all women born in the 1950s who are adversely affected by the changes to the State Pension law. And we have been raising awareness and gathering signatures for the Purple Teardrop Campaign to oppose the trafficking of women and children.