Our Work – Programme Actions

Programme Actions are at the heart of what we do as Soroptimists. Through our Programme Action goals we support charities, fund raise, raise awareness and lobby to support our goals of educating, empowering and enabling women and young girls across the world.

At the Oxford Club we have worked with a number of local charities within Oxford including Crisis Skylight and the Abingdon Bridge, as well as supporting international projects such as ActionAid and other Soroptimists clubs in our region.

Below are a few of our recent activities to support some of the causes that are close to our Mission as a club.

Blankets for refugees

December 2017
At December’s Regional Human Rights  meeting in Bedford club members Ros and Moira presented SI Milton Keynes with another blanket made by our members. Blankets are given to MK Red Cross to help refugees who are being located there.


Day Of Action

July 2017
Club members, family and friends enjoyed a fundraising coffee event at the home of a club member. The weather was kind so we managed to enjoy ourselves in the garden. A wonderful £367 was raised which will go to SIGBI’s Meru Women’s Garden Project, and also to support Haseena and her family in Pakistan through our club’s sponsorship with PLAN International.


Collection of Items for the Kori Project in Sierra Leone

May 2017
Oxford club members brought a variety of much needed items in support of SI Thames Valley’s project in the Kori district of Sierra Leone. Key items needed at the moment include towels, blankets for babies, biro pens, underwear and shorts and trousers for small boys. We have in the past donated toothbrushes, soaps, toothpaste to promote good hygiene and quality books for their newly built library.
Here is a link to the Kori Development Project if you would like to find out more.
Club donations to the Kori project

Club donations to the Kori project



Water Aid – World Water Day

15th March 2017
Every day lives are lost and people suffer because  of a lack of safe water and sanitation. A staggering 663 million people world wide live without a safe water supply close to home therefore spending hours each day seeking clean water. This year the theme for the Day is ‘Waste Water’ and Water Aid’s campaign ‘Why Waste Water?’ asks us to think about reducing and reusing waste water.
To mark this year’s World Water Day club members rose to the Water Bottle Challenge by contributing small change to fill several water bottles.
Fore more information see:

Making Blankets for Refugees

December 2016

Photo of the blanket

First blanket for refugees knitted by Oxford SI and friends



Milton Keynes SI is supporting MK Red Cross by knitting blankets for refugees as many are locating there. Some members of our club decided to take up the challenge and contributed by knitting squares. Together with some of club member Ros’ village friends we have made and delivered this blanket. Two baby blankets made by a friend were also delivered. We plan to make more and already members and friends are knitting away. Thanks to all who have helped in any way. There was something special about sitting, sewing and chatting when assembling the blanket.

Photo of people sewing the blanket together

Club member Ros and friends sewing the blanket together


Supporting Project Shoebox Oxford

November 2016

Picture of goods donated to Project Shoebox

Oxford SI donations to Project Shoebox


Club members donated generously a variety of toiletries and gifts in support of Project Shoebox Christmas Appeal. This local Project is a community giving one which collects unused and unwanted toiletries and non perishable foods for women and their families who are in Oxfordshire domestic abuse refuges, homeless shelters or who are refugees.


Programme Action Achievements

This is just a sample of some of the Programme Action work that we have been doing over the past couple of years. They are wide and varied and involve local, national and international dimensions.

Photo of cards listing our achievements

Some of our achievements over the last couple of years


Posted 16-Nov-16


Sudap Village Project,  Nepal – Update

On 1st June 2016 ActionAid posted a blog entry featuring our project in Nepal, here is an extract:

Today marks the Global Day of Parents – a day to celebrate families across the world. It also gives us an opportunity to reflect on the incredible mums we work with. Many parents know all too well how difficult it is to juggle a career with childcare. We’re working with Nepalese mums to address this issue.”

Click on the link below to read the full article.


Posted 11-Jun-16


Parkinson’s Fund Raising – Update

April 2016

Ros & Moira presenting Parkinson's UK with a cheque from our club

Ros & Moira presenting Parkinson’s UK with a cheque from our club


On Wednesday 6th April, Moira and Ros – our Club Presidents – went along to Parkinson’s UK Oxford Branch to present a cheque for £900 from our Club. (This has been our Presidents’ Charity for the 2015/2016 year). They were delighted to receive it and it will go into their Carer’s Respite Fund.


Educate to Lead – Nepal

Presidents Appeal 2015-2017

For the next two years (2015 – 2017) we are supporting our International President’s Appeal, ‘Educate to Lead: Nepal’ through advocacy, and by holding a number of fundraising events.
The Appeal addresses human rights issues that follow a disaster. The aim is to help people rebuild their lives whilst providing educational opportunities which may not have existed prior to the earthquake.
It is essential that the project increases educational resources for women and girls and that in turn the number of women and girls accessing educational opportunities increases. Additionally, the project is also focussing on increasing opportunities for leadership development.
(Source: http://www.soroptimistinternational.org/appeal/an-introduction)

Posted 20-Feb-16


Sudap Village Project – Nepal

Women and children in Sudap, Nepal

(c) ActionAid

Our project in Eastern Nepal in partnership with ActionAid is helping to build a community child care centre so women are able to leave their children in safe care whilst they work. The photos shows some of the children and women we are supporting.

Posted 23-Jan-16

Update March 2016:

ActionAid have provided us with their report on how the funding provided by Oxford & District Soroptimists is helping the Sudap Community. You can download the full report (as a PDF) here: ActionAid Final Report – SIOD Mar2015.




‘Orange The World’

Photo of Oxford SoroptimistsFrom 25th November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, through to 10th December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender – Based Violence aims to raise public awareness and mobilise people worldwide to bring about change. The UN Secretary General’s UNiTE to End Violence Against Women Campaign invites us all to ‘Orange the World’ – orange to symbolise a brighter future without violence.
At November’s meeting members wore a little something orange.

Posted 30-Nov-15




April 2015 – April 2016

This year we are supporting a project run by ActionAid in Sudap Village in Eastern Nepal. The community is struggling to fund the rent for the building they are presently in and therefore the project’s sustainability is threatened. The community has now found land to construct a new child care centre of its own but cannot afford the construction.

The aim of the project is to fund the construction of the building. ActionAid has been supporting women by giving them the opportunity to earn their own living outside the home by making sure their children are taken care of. The childcare centre will ensure this and also provide employment for the women who look after the children. As Soroptimists we will be making a big difference to these women’s lives.

Photo of dinner at Yeti Nepalese restaurant (Oxford)

Club members and friends enjoyed an excellent meal at the Nepalese Yeti restaurant in Oxford to raise money for the project.












Stand With #fearless Women To End Violence Against Women

October 2015

Photo of Oxford Soroptimist attending FearlessClub members Helena and Ann recently attended in London the launch of ActionAid’s campaign to end violence against women.

One in  three women will face violence sometime in their lifetimes. It is time to bring an end to this. Get involved in ActionAid’s 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women in November.





In Support Of The Kori Project And To Mark International Literacy Day (8th September)

16th September, 2015

Photo of books collected for Kori Project

At September’s meeting, club members donated a variety of books to support SI Thames Valley one of our London Chilterns Region clubs. As part of their Kori Project a library is in the process of being constructed and books of all genres are needed. The library is the first to be built in Sierra Leone since the ending of the civil war.




Marking UN World Water Day

18th March 2015

It is our mission for this year to mark important UN days in our calendars and importantly, to mark them at our monthly meetings together as a group.

With March marking the UN’s World Water Day (22nd March), we hosted a small (non-competitive, promise!) quiz on water scarcity, water use and sanitation across the world. I think we all left a little wiser (and shocked) at some of the statistics for water sanitation and then impact of water availability, or lack thereof, upon women and young girls in their families as water carriers. Be sure to look on the UN’s website to see some of the stats!


Regional Meeting and Celebration of United Nations Human Rights Day

6th December 2014

Article 1 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood’.

Over seventy members gathered at the Bedford Golf Club for the winter regional meeting and the annual celebration of United Nations Human Rights Day.

As well as being updated by Federation Programme Director, Sue Biggs, on Programme Action matters, key note speaker, Colette Paul, Chief Constable of Bedfordshire, spoke movingly of her work in the field of modern day slavery and trafficking.

Each section of the day was linked with the reading of different articles of the Declaration of Human Rights which facilitated reflection and thought by everyone. This was an excellent regional event enjoyed by all.


Bras …Bras…And More Bras

Over the past 6 years club member, Chris, has been fantastic in rallying us all into collecting bras. She has also placed Bra Banks in a number of places and carried out many collections. Through her hard work, 1200 kg of bras have been collected raising an amazing £1200 for our projects. This is an ongoing project.



From Christmas Turkeys to Weekly Essentials…

Abingdon Emergency Food Bank
At the club meeting in June, members brought a variety of goods to be donated to The Abingdon Emergency Food Bank.
Members also listened to a very informative and interesting talk given by the Food Bank Co-ordinator. In the past year the Food Bank has helped over 700 people and received over 9500 donations.
You can find out more about the Abingdon Emergency Food Bank at their website.


London Chilterns Regional Meeting

14th June, 2014

London Chilterns Regional Meeting at the Medieval Abbey Building in Abingdon was attended by 70 Soroptimists from groups across the region.

DSC_1188Regional President, Penny Dmoch, Introduced the speaker Fiona McTaggart MP for Slough and also Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking/Modern Day Slavery.





Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

10th-13th June, 2014 London

The Foreign Secretary and Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy for the UN High Commission for Refugees, co-chaired The Global Summit.

Global Summit_AnnStanding by the SIGBI stand is club member, Ann Hawken, who attended a day of The Summit Fringe. ‘The Fringe was an excellent event and great to experience. One of the events I attended was the Ministerial launch of the UK’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Speakers included the UK Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary and International Development Secretary along with key women’s advocates from Syria, Uganda, The Philippines sharing their experiences’.

Women make up 70% of the world’s poor

21st May, 2014
ActionAid came to speak with us at our May meeting, sharing their fantastic work to support women and children in the most poverty stricken corners of the Earth.
Did you know?:
  • 41,000,000 girls are denied primary education world wide?
  • The 4 reasons for inequality can be summarised as:
    1. Cash
    2. Confidence
    3. Care
    4. Culture
 ActionAid work towards tackling these four foundations fuelling inequality and have recently concluded their She Can Campaign, sponsored by the UK Government.
We were shown videos of their work to support female victims of acid attacks, building networks where they can access support and friendship, helping them rebuild their lives after the terrible ordeal of attacks.
ActionAid help young girls and women to find safer livelihoods away from landfill, where many young girls and women are subject to abuse and rape trying to find scraps among mountains of waste.
We are supporting ActionAid. To find out how you can too, or join the Oxford Soroptimist International Group please get in touch here!


International President’s Appeal – ‘See Solar, Cook Solar’


‘Can you imagine finding time to earn your living if you had to spend hours every day collecting firewood? Or how you would study with no electric light in the evening? One quarter of the world’s population do not have reliable access to electricity 70% of these are women and girls in developing countries’. Soroptimist International President, Ann Garvie 2013-15
To help raise funds for The Appeal, a club member hosted a luncheon. Despite the weather, everyone enjoyed themselves whilst at the same time raised money which will buy much needed solar lanterns and solar cookers.



Pretty Girls for Sale


We were visited by OxCAT (Oxford Community Against Trafficking) to help us all understand and raise awareness about the symptoms and impacts of human trafficking.
Following Operation Bullfinch, we were all keen to understand how we could support efforts to both put a stop to trafficking and understand the kind of support needed by victims.
As trafficking is often so hidden, there are a number of things you can look out for if you feel someone may be a victim of trafficking. See the OxCAT website for advice for symptoms and who to inform.

What have cake and feet got in common? Raising awareness and money with the Eve Appeal

18th September, 2013


We raised awareness and money at our September meeting by sporting our best funny shoes and socks for ovarian cancer awareness month with the Eve Appeal; the only national gynaecological charity in the UK raising awareness and cures for cancers affecting women.
Our lovely Chloe, resident GP in the group, tested our awareness of the gynaecological cancers for which we truly struggled to identify all 5. Do you know all 5? Find out more and read more information about the Eve Appeal’s work here.
We extended our support and awareness raising of both gynaecological cancers, and the great work of the Eve Appeal by joining Chloe for tea and cake at a hugely successful (and delicious) cake sale. With plates, forks and hungry appetites at hand, Chloe raised over £170 for the charity!
Cupcakes_Eve Appeal

Knitted Hats for Women in Sierra Leone


As part of our Programme Action we support other clubs with their projects.
Club members knitted warm hats for women in Sierra Leone in support of
Soroptimist International Thames Valley.

Here are just a few of us sporting our craftiwork!


The Abingdon Bridge

Centre for local young people



The BIG Project (Birthing in Gambia)

Healthcare, Educate, Empower, Enable for women in Gambia



Cementing Futures


Cementing Futures is an educational development charity with a mission to bring education, hope and dignity to children who have no means of currently accessing state provided education in deprived areas. They wish to provide general education, educational opportunities and assistance with the health needs of the children and their families who are living in poverty in Bangladesh.

In association with SI Bournemouth. We have currently raised £3563 for them.

Margaret presenting our cheque of £1518.00 to Bournemouth club for their Cementing Futures fund.



The Porch Steppin’ Stone Centre


Here we are presenting them with a cheque for £1279. We also continue to donate food, clothes and presents.


A local Oxford charity providing day long support for homeless and vulnerably housed people wanting to move forward in their lives. They run a cafe, laundry facilities, showers, free clothing store, library and much more.




Gold – Guiding Overseas Linked with Development


The group sponsored a girl guide, Catherine Crick, to go to Armenia. When she returned she came to our November 2009 meeting and shared her experiences with us. Catherine explained that Girl Guide troops are established in over 100 countries, but many are in poorer or new countries and are in need of help to train leaders. For this reason, GOLD was established to enable Guides from this country to spend time in countries where leader training is needed.

The selection process included in this project is extremely rigourous. The reason for this became evident as we learned of the difficulties that had to be overcome when carrying out the training in Armenia. Living and travelling conditions were often difficult and one one occasional she and her companions were arrested near the Iranian border. Many of those to receive training needed a great deal of help, including raising self esteem, before more specific leader training could begin. It was also unfortunate that many of the woman who led Guide troops in Armenia were expected to give up when they were married, althought this problem was believed to be lessening.

In spite of the difficulties, the experience was enjoyed and appreciated by all who took part and the development of an international friendship was established.