On Saturday 26th June 65 delegates enjoyed our SI Midland Chase Regional Conference 2021. Delivered via Zoom it was informative and enjoyable with a very special final session. Sutton Coldfield Club member Bozena Benton gives us her verdict…
We were promised something for everyone and President Margaret and her SI Midland Chase Regional Conference 2021 team delivered. ‘Be bold and mind the gap’. Thank you for a truly memorable event. We began with a minute’s silence to remember our Federation President Johanna Raffan MBE who passed away this month. We will miss her.
Vince Owen MD of the Krizevac Project spoke of the work in Malawi and how their social enterprise business model where businesses and beneficiaries are equal has enabled them to provide livelihood and education to families. Soroptimists have long supported the idea of recycling and that one person’s preloaded or unwanted items are another’s treasures and Krizevac uses this to mend if necessary to send sewing machines and cycles which are then for a small investment by beneficiaries providing them with the start of their new livelihood. He shared with us how donated Royal Mail cycles made the elephants see red so repainting them green stopped the elephants chasing the beneficiaries. Illiteracy affects 30% of the population of which girls are disproportionately affected led to the building of a children’s centre and schools. Initial classrooms of 100 pupils are now being reduced to 30. I am sure that many attending the conference will be checking their garages and bookshelves to make donations. Check out their website and shop.
Our second speaker was our own Margaret Emsley – past Federation President – who asked why we should care about the Gender gap in STEM. Many of us will remember her conference in Malta with inspiring and amazing role-model speakers from the world of STEM. We heard about the how girls seem to lose interest in STEM just as they consider curriculum subjects and future careers. We need more ambassadors and female role-models. Aptitude vs ability, is it an issue? Girls are performing given an opportunity but need exposure to the unbelievably wide range of careers in engineering, design and technology. We need to break the stereotypical myths and traditions, promote female success in inventions and research and development.
And finally, what can I say about our drama presentation on the history of how Soroptimist International came into being and the awesome and inspirational women who took the first steps in founding our organisation? Written by Sue Challoner of SI Runcorn, Frodsham & District and presented by Dishi Attwood our narrator and our Soroptimist thespians was a delight. Thank you especially to our newest members who played their parts well. I first heard this in French but with the visual interpretations you brought a different dimension. Many things have changed (hats and gloves) but their spirit lives on in their legacies which continue to inspire us today.
The cast starred:
Violet Richardson Ward – Angela Reynolds, SI Lichfield & District
Lady Falmouth – Pauline Howl, SI Sutton Coldfield
Margaret Adams – Jenny Murphy, SI Sutton Coldfield
Suzanne Noel – Elizabeth Fruer, SI Sutton Coldfield
Elizabeth Hawes – Michelle Daws, SI Stafford
Edith Glanville – Margaret Clarke, SI Tamworth
Gertrude G. Huitt – Desrine McNichol, SI Wolverhampton
Narrator – Dishi Attwood, SI Kenilworth & District
If you’d like to know more about Soroptimists and what we do – please get in touch!