Two New Soroptimist School Clubs Chartered

We are delighted that both of our Soroptimist School Clubs have recently chartered. Here is a write up and photographs from both of the charter events.

Soroptimist International Preston School Club – The Soroptimisses

SI Preston’s School Club held the first ever School Club Charter ceremony in November 2017, organised by Nicola McDermott, Head of Religious Studies & Citizenship and Karen Rainford, Member of SI Preston and the school’s mentor. The event was attended by parents and guardians, staff, pupils, school governors, members of SI Preston, the Regional President of SI North West and Isle of Man, representatives of the charity Partners in Education Swaziland (PIES) and the local MP Seema Kennedy.

Head Teacher, Karen Pomeroy welcomed everyone describing how the Club had first started. Preston Club Member, Karen Rainford, officially opened the event describing how Membership within many organisations is in decline but with the introduction of the School Club initiative this will – hopefully – be the beginning of a new incredibly exciting era. She went on to say that the Members of SI Preston were motivated by the girls and are so proud that the School Club is such a success.

Three students, Ashleigh, Aamina and Jawharah, lit a candle each representing Hope, Peace and Friendship. Each girl had written a short speech explaining the importance of the three qualities in being a Member of Soroptimist International. After this the 33 students were presented with the official School Club badges and certificates.

In her President’s speech, Charlotte Hamer (Year 11) spoke about the importance of the work of the Soroptimisses in making her feel like she was giving back to society, not just on a local level, but globally.

Norman Yates, a representative from the charity PIES came to receive a cheque from the girls and announced that they had recently found a girl who needs a sponsor in order to start secondary school. Thanks to the money raised by our girls, Zodwa Dlamini will be able to start school in January 2018 (the start of the academic year in Swaziland). This is an incredible achievement and something the girls are extremely proud of – in just 6 months they have raised the funds to change the life of a girl who would otherwise have missed out on her secondary education. All School Club Members are eager to help support girls worldwide with an education as they recognise that attending school is not always something that can be taken for granted and they want to help as many girls as possible to realise their potential.

Before the ceremony was closed, Maureen Howarth, Regional President of the North West and Isle of Man congratulated the girls on making history as the first ever Soroptimist School Club. She recognised the importance of the ’Soroptimisses’ as the future and the assurance that their work will continue for many more generations. These girls are taking the work of a long-established organisation into the modern era and are essential to its continued survival.

Everyone then enjoyed an afternoon tea provided by the school and Members of SI Preston.

Karen Pomeroy, Head Teacher of the school said afterwards:
‘As the headteacher of Penwortham Girls’ High School I am delighted that we have started the very first Soroptimist School Club. Being a girls’ school, it is fantastic that we have been able to get actively involved in a project that empowers women and girls across the globe. A large number of girls have joined the group, ably supported by Miss McDermott, and I have been surprised at how much they have achieved in such a very short space of time. A real highlight has to be the funds they have raised to support the education of Zodwa Dlamini in Swaziland. I am also extremely grateful for the on-going support of members of SI Preston who give up their valuable time to meet and support our girls on a regular basis.’

The Candle Ceremony Speeches written by the girls themselves:

Ashleigh: Hope
“In a world of such inequality, hope is one of the single most important values. By providing aid like food, shelter and other basic amenities, the Soroptimisses are able to provide hope along with the foundations for a happier, healthier life for women around the world.”

Aamina: Peace
“In a world like this, complete peace will never be achieved; but being part of the Soroptimisses means we can be content and at peace within, knowing we’re doing our part to give hope and create connections to those less fortunate.”

Jawharah: Friendship
“The candle of friendship presents a unique bond created through the values of hope and peace. It connects women and girls through their similarities and differences, and unites them as one. Providing them with the resources they need to flourish, empowers them to support one another along their beautiful journey of life.”

Soroptimist International Fylde School Club – AKS Young Soroptimists’

The newly formed AKS Young Soroptimists’ Club was chartered in a celebration held in the School Pavilion in January 2018. Fylde Soroptimist Members were proud to host the event and Regional President, Maureen Howarth, and Regional Membership Officer, Karen Rainford, attended to present the Charter and the Members’ badges and certificates. A unique event was the presentation of a membership certificate to head boy, Sam Southern. It is hoped that the boys at the School will support the girls’ Club as ambassadors for the White Ribbon Campaign to end violence against women.

During the celebration, guests were invited to participate in a candle lighting ceremony for Peace and Friendship Worldwide. The guests also enjoyed wonderful refreshments provided by AKS Hospitality.

Fylde Soroptimists have been fully supported by the School in the formation of this new club and thanks were given to Head, Mike Walton, and Deputy Head, Paul Crouch, for all their encouragement in this venture.

The Young Soroptimists have been doing amazing work in helping with the Fylde Club’s projects, especially the “80 for 80” toilet twinning campaign. To date they have twinned 17 toilets with more in the pipeline and the first President of the Young Soroptimists’ Club, Georgia Waring, gave a brief overview of their work to date. The Club are also helping with a project for the Philippine Community Fund by collecting ringpulls to enable women to earn an income making jewellery and bags enabling their children to access education.

Members have also been blogging about the Club and why they wanted to join. There are some fantastic quotes, take a look at the blog.

The Fylde Soroptimists will support the new AKS Club in all their future projects and are looking forward to working together for many years.

For information about the local Soroptimist Club please email or telephone the Secretary Linda AnnBeddows MBE on 01253 726576.