As an international organisation we work together with other clubs in other parts of the world which we term ‘Friendship Links’. At the moment we have three links in various parts of the world.
S.I. COLOMBO SI Colombo in Sri Lanka is our longest standing friendship link and was forged after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 which hit areas surrounding the epicentre of the Indian Ocean earthquake with such devastating results. Our members heard of the plight of two young girls who had been orphaned in this tragedy. When the tsunami struck they were travelling from Colombo by train to visit their grandmother and their parents died as the train was washed away. As the girls didn’t live in the area that the tsunami struck, they did not qualify for aid. Their grandmother and aunt moved to Colombo to care for them in their own home. A member of SI Colombo, Padmini Samarasinghe and member of SI Elmbridge Dorothy Clarke, featured their plight in our Soroptimist magazine and SI Ellesmere Port decided to help.
Since then we have sent funds every year for the girls’ education. Budhini has completed her university education and is now married and Delhini has recently completed her education. We continue to send funds to SI Colombo to support their educational club projects.
Club member Dorothy Cartwright and members of her family have been to Colombo to meet the girls and to visit the projects which our donations help to fund. This is a true friendship which we all value. The club has been awarded an S.I. award for supporting women and girls in the aftermath of disaster for this work
Dorothy and family visit Delhini and Budhini
In June and October 2017, our club carried out bucket collections in a local popular garden centre,The Burleydam. The funds raised were sent to the SI Colombo club. Part of the donations were used to support a disabled student, Shavishka, who SI Colombo help with transport to school, and the remainder has been used towards supporting a school for the deaf.
Our most recent friendship link is with SI Maseno in Kenya. We have recently sent funds to help with their proposed project to build a toilet block in a girls’ secondary school. Girls in this area miss a great deal of schooling because their are no toilet facilities at school. They are too embarrassed to attend school during their period and are therefore missing out on so much of their education. We wish SI Maseno well with this vital project and look forward to seeing the progress they make.
Another of their projects is to support a disabled girl at a local special school. We also look forward to hearing more about her and how she is getting on.
S.I MORETON NORTH
Another of our Friendship Link Clubs is SI Moreton North. This Club is a few miles north of Brisbane, in Queensland, Australia.
One of our members, Hilary Laidler, visited the Club for a Business Meeting and met many of the members there.
They have a very active projects programme within their area and have many members that run their own businesses.
Since establishing a friendship link we have, so far, worked on one joint project, making stars to contribute to the million stars exhibition at the recent Commonwealth Games held on Australia’s Gold Coast to raise awareness, and to cease all forms of Violence Against Women.