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 the Club celebrates the UN International Literacy Day by holding a book reading. This year members read ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche and discussed elements of Violence Against Women in the book amongst other issues. As the books were borrowed from the Suffolk Library Service members gave £5 each to go to the Regional Project in South Africa. The Clubs in the Region are currently funding a second woman to train as a qualified General Nurse (we have already funded one).
Also, in September, we mark the UN International Day of Peace as a Region. This year we focussed on the statement that Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General, issued about ‘Education for Peace’.
In recognition of the International Day of the Girl Child on 11th October Club members wrote to their 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 December, where we celebrated International Human Rights Day, was Comfort Momoh, MBE. Comfort is a midwife who specialises in the study and treatment of FGM and opened the only clinic for victims in London. You may have seen her on the TV recently. She is awesome and totally committed to banning FGM.
But, before then, Club members partnered with Suffolk Coastal Domestic Abuse Forum because 25th November is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (VAW). This year we were in Felixstowe (at the Co-op supermarket) on November 28th asking people to wear a sticker in support of White Ribbon Day and to talk to them about VAW.
We are therefore ‘Women inspiring action, transforming lives’.