We, as an organisation, celebrate some of the UN International Days throughout the year that focus on women and girls, especially as Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland is an Organisation in Category 2 Status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council since 2013. For example, the following are the Days which we members of SI Ipswich and District have celebrated since September:
In September each year our Club celebrates the UN International Literacy Day by holding a book reading. This year members read ‘A Spare Pair of Hands’ by famous author Kate Mosse who has looked after both her parents and one of her husband’s family member. This helped our understanding of the issues and was a good link for our Care Award. As the books were borrowed from the Suffolk Library Service members gave £5 each which was given to the Purple Community Fund to help pay for education of children who ‘s parents can not afford to pay to send their children to school.
In recognition of the International Day of the Girl Child we have lobbied our MPs to voice concerns about the continuing – and regrettably increasing – practice here in the UK of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This is an issue that we as Soroptimists lobby and protest about at every opportunity. In fact, the speaker at our Regional meeting in June 2022 was Aneeta Prem, founder of The Freedom Charity that helps girls who believe they are being sent abroad to be ‘cut’. Aneeta was awarded the MBE in the 2023 New Year’s Honours List for her Charity Service..
We also lobby our MPs on Forced Marriages (not Arranged Marriages) another issue that Aneeta Prem, MBE is involved in.
We are passionate about the UN Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls on 25th November. We start 16 Days of Activism online.
We celebrate the UN Human Rights Day at our Regional Meeting which is closest to the date – 10th December. In November 2022 most of the Clubs in our Region contacted Soroptimist clubs they have a friendship link with and asked them to write about what Human Rights means to them.
And currently we are lobbying on the issue of sending so-called ‘illegal’ immigrants back to where they come from or Rwanda. There are few legal and safe ways to enter the UK unless you are among those being helped from Hong Kong, Afghanistan and the Ukraine. Many genuine refugees will be turned away, putting their lives at risk – Modern Slavery, Trafficking, likelihood of being arrested, tortured or killed.
We are therefore ‘Women inspiring action, transforming lives’.