We call our voluntary work Programme Action; this is the reason for being a Soroptimist. The name reflects the Mission Statement of Soroptimist International:
We are Soroptimists
Women inspiring action, transforming lives
We are vibrant, dynamic and like-minded women
Working on global to local projects that help improve the lives of women and girls
SI Perth – these are our 2020 – 2021 Programme Action Projects
RASAC Youth Ambassadors Bookmark Project
We have partnered with RASAC, the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, Perth in one of their school education programmes to provide bookmarks which will be distributed to all secondary schools in Perthshire by RASAC Youth Ambassadors. The bookmark contains wording on a theme of “What is Sexual Violence?” These are aiming to educate young people on how to identify, prevent and tackle sexual violence should they encounter it at any time.
8,000 Bookmarks have been printed and are being distributed at the moment (Nov. 2020)
Modern Day Slavery/Human Trafficking
SI Perth take a keen interest in supporting organisations working against human traffickers. We do this is a number of different ways:
- Keeping up to date with campaigning to raise awareness of MDS both locally and internationally
- Supporting SOHTIS (Survivors of Human Trafficking in Scotland) in their fight to ensure the survivors of trafficking enjoy lasting freedom
- Supporting The Free to Live Trust’s Seema’s Home in Pune, India. Seema’s Home is a place of safety for children of trafficked girls trapped in the red light area, and a rehabilitation home for some of the MDS victims themselves. There are currently 60 children in the Children’s Home aged from 2 years to 16 years and 8 rescued victims over 16 years of age. Pictures below show new residents arriving in late June 2020, out of the dangers of the red light area. Check out the Free to Live Trust’s website for more information – www.freetolivetrust.org
- Collecting new pants and lightly used bras for SMALLS FOR ALL to give girls the chance of full time education.
- SMALLS FOR ALL is an organisation who operate from the UK and support people and charitable organisations working on projects in Africa who are able to transport and distribute the pants and bras they collect. Underwear has gone to many countries in Africa, including Cameroon, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zanzibar. SMALLS FOR ALL also help charities that focus on alleviating poverty in the UK by providing them with underwear.
Violence Against Women
Soroptimists of Perth have worked locally for many years supporting organisations like Women’s Aid and RASAC, in various ways including:
- Taking part in the annual Reclaim The Night Marches in Perth
- Supporting local and national campaigns – at the present time (Nov. 2020) we are taking part in the 16 Days of Activism Campaign in Perth. See our Club News 2020 page for details of this.
- Working with RASAC (our local Rape & Sexual Abuse Centre) in a joint project raising awareness of their services (bookmarks) and collecting toiletries at Christmas.
Recycling and Collecting
Members collect and distribute the following items:
- Household goods for Starter Packs
- Stamps for RNIB
- Bottles tops – 2,100 tops were collected by members and sent to recycler in Nov. 2020
- Jewellery & phones
Female Genital Mutiliation (FGM)
- Lobbying and raising awareness to stop FGM where advocacy needed
Support in Local Community
Like the rest of the population, we knitted during lock-down – beautiful lacy blankets for Care Homes, squares which are then crocheted into knee rugs for a Psychiatric Hospital. Tiny baby clothes are being knitted for a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and trauma teddies for the children cared for by Women’s Aid. These will be given to the intended recipients as soon as current restrictions permit them to accept the items.
One of our members also made 20 beautiful decorated laundry bags – nurses’ and doctors’ scrubs are placed in the bags prior to popping them in the washing machine, to prevent any cross infection during the wash.
Sponsorship of Students
Soila Girls Maasai Centre – We continue to sponsor the care, protection and education of Lucy, a young orphan girl in Kenya deemed at high risk of FGM and premature marriage. Although the Kenyan Government has closed down schools and orphanages in response to the Covid pandemic, Lucy and 11 others have remained under the care of the Centre.
CPD Kenya – A financial donation was sent to the Center for Development and Peace in Mombasa to help provide hand-washing soaps, face masks, gloves, sanitizers and communication Covid-19 posters supplied by the Ministry of Health. CPD is a youth and women led organisation formed in 2016. They work passionately to engage the community for progressive development. Check out their website icpdkenya.org for more information about them.
Sensory Books for Blind and Visually Impaired Children
In response to a request from a peripatetic teacher of visually impaired children, four talented members have produced 5 remarkably ingenious sensory books to stimulate the children’s imaginations. More books are being made and will be ready soon.