Sharon Richardson, a member of SI Southend & District became President of London Anglia Region at the beginning of November 2022 for a period of 2 years. Previously she was the Programme Action Chair for our Region. Her strapline for her term is:
We are a diverse, spread out Region and each Club has its own culture, local issues and way of delivering its projects. At the same time, Sharon commented that many things are the same. If we look after ourselves then our own Clubs, our Region, SIGBI and SI all benefit and so do the organisations and people we support. During COVID the opportunity to share Club Speaker meetings by Zoom has been a real bonus and we should look to ensure that this spirit of co-operation continues. It was great to now be meeting in person again.
Our speaker in November 2021 was Mary Houldsworth from Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) who attended via Zoom. She spoke generally about the work of MSF in Afghanistan and her work in particular with the women and children, most of whom lived in rural areas with little access to medical centres. They were in areas where fighting was continuous making people too afraid to leave their homes until they were very ill.
She said it was essential that MSF recognised the importance of cultural attitudes and behaviour and the fact that men largely determine how their womenfolk need to observe the rules largely controlled by men (and mother-in-laws!). Gradually MSF medical teams could have some influence on health and education by working with both men and women, and demonstrating how alternative ways can improve their lives and those of their children. Needless to say there were some heart rending stories. We heard that the US bombed hospitals controlled by MSF because they treated members of the Taliban and other groups as well as the general population – MSF do not differentiate, anyone who needs their help is entitled to it.
Mell plans to visit all 10 London Anglia Region Clubs over the next 2 years. At the moment these have to be virtual visits but before the lockdown she came to an SI Ipswich & District meeting for a supper evening which we held jointly with Ipswich Inner Wheel and enjoyed two speakers:
Our speaker from Women’s Voices, one of our partner organisations, spoke about the Gender Equality Quilt they had initiated and completed. It is very special, lovingly put together by their Crafters from tiles produced by women from across Suffolk. And the The Inner Wheel speaker was the new CEO of Ipswich Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG) a Registered Charity that was set up in 1976 to provide housing and other services for single homeless people in Ipswich – today they provide a range of services to over 5,000 people a year across Suffolk. Thank you for coming Mell.