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Regional President’s Message December 2020

I have wasted no time in getting this year going, Ladies. Note that you can access the videos and podcasts via the SI YouTube Channel here and find a wide range of other resources here.
Image of President Sharon Fisher
SI President Sharon Fisher

On 19th November 2020 I zoomed off to SI President SHARON FISHER’s Webinar ‘STRONGER TOGETHER ON THE ROAD TO EQUALITY’ along with 400+ Sister Sorops.

SHARON started by pointing out the significance 2020 – 75 Years of UN, 25 Years since the Beijing Platform for Action in 1995.
One of our UN Reps BETTE LEVY spoke of the critical concerns surrounding equality issues for women, and the 5 Copenhagen Declarations.
NISHA GOSH, SIGBI Director of PT & Marketing talked of the historical, systemic injustices caused by pre-conceived outdated ideas, leading to ingrained discrimination against women. She told how in 2012 the bus gang rape and death of a girl in PUNE, led to SI Pune Metro Club creating ‘One Million Rise’ (SDG5) which educates boys and girls in 3 age groups now (5-10) (11-16) (17-21) and also the teachers.
PENNY BABB, SI AMERICAS PRESIDENT described their ‘Live Your Dream Award’ scheme. SIA educate and award cash to girls who may have been kidnapped, sexually abused or drugged before escaping to the US. 87% survived and upgraded their status, 97% found stable employment and homes. Since 2016 the scheme has accessed 7,000+ girls, invested $12 million in educating them with a total of 73,000 girls helped overall (SDGS 1,4,5,8,10). NOTE: SIA Centenary in 2021.
ANUSH SANTHIRASTHIPAM, Federation Programme Director SI SOUTH WEST PACIFIC. Gave details of a project that can now be replicated throughout isolated islands in SWP Area, after SISWP President Theresa Coyford had urged all Clubs to work together. YiYili Aboriginal Community School one of 14 schools in Kimberley Region of Western Australia serves children from Kindergarten to Year 10. First job was to convince mothers to let girls attend school mothers then convinced tribal elders. SI concentrated on food and health factors, training girls in catering, healthy hygiene, local recipes, food handling and basic hospitality skills. Bush Tucker recipes were learnt to attract tourists. Soon mothers and girls had business skills too. This stalled sexual abuse, prostitution, drug mules and forced marriage and rape. The project will now be repeated in all remote areas of SWP.
RITA NAGULISA RAMOS of SI EUROPE spoke on ‘Taking Charge to End Violence Against Women and Girls’ Where to go now? 250 million girls are affected in SI Europe. Different countries are up against different crimes:- German – Prostitution, Turkey-Violence, Sweden-Shelters/Hostels needed.
NGOs are being helped by SIE with shelters in particular, 74% of them in the cities need SIE help. They are using the 16 Days of Action Campaign entitled ‘Vulnerable No More’. Local Clubs band together for International Action. The Netherlands ORANGE THEIR BUILDINGS, Israel orthodox men wore ORANGE CLOTHES promoted gender equality, All Embassies were contacted asking ambassadors to join our orange campaign. Together we Achieve More – their Advocacy Campaign and Programme included gaining Public Awareness, e.g. during lockdown 71,000=1 Million victims
received very poor treatment so helplines were established in different countries of SIE.
SI PRESIDENT’S APPEAL. Reinforce learning, use strategic partnering, with the media and local government. COVID-19 has put back our efforts and exacerbated the barriers needing to be cleared for women to gain equality.