Soroptimists around the world try to improve the lives of disadvantaged women and girls. We do this by advocating/campaigning for equity and equality, increasing access to education, and helping women to develop businesses and develop leadership and practical skills for a sustainable future. The projects can be local, national and/or international – it’s good to have a mix. Project ideas can come from almost anywhere. Sometimes they come from the ‘top’ of Soroptimism, from our Regions, from members who have particular interests, or from hearing speakers who inspire us.
We can work on our own on projects, or join forces with other Soroptimists anywhere in the World.
AWARENESS, ADVOCACY AND ACTION
SI Poole’s projects thrive on members’ enthusiasm and their ability to pick up a project and run with it; action may include lobbying, fund-raising, raising awareness and providing practical solutions. For example, we raise awareness about human trafficking, and have campaigned to abolish landmines and cluster bombs. We have knitted, sewn, gardened and on occasion painted!
ELIMINATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
Purple Teardrop Campaign
Location: Dorset, national and international
Poole Soroptimists’ Purple Teardrop Campaign initiative raises awareness of the trafficking and grooming of women and girls, and raises funds to support rescued victims. We started the campaign in 2008 and developed it into the well known human rights charity that it is today. The Purple Teardrop Campaign develops and communicates actions that other Soroptimist groups can pick up and run with. Our posters into toilets campaign for example provides a template of how to work with local councils to display human trafficking awareness posters in public wcs. We have also developed the loves me/loves me not bookmarks and cards first produced by Yorkshire Soroptimists, which help the young and vulnerable distinguish between the signs of a trusting and an abusive relationship The club has a specific project campaigning to ban ”sex for sale” advertising from all media, and to date our petition has collected over 38,000 signatures. The Purple Teardrop Campaign raises funds by selling pin-badges and various awareness raising materials. All proceeds are ploughed back into the campaign which provides financial support to safe houses which care for rescued victims.
Location: Dorset, national
The first part of a long-term project to raise awareness of abusive relationships and grooming amongst young people is the re-vamping of the Loves Me/Loves Me Not bookmarks for distribution in Dorset and more widely via other Soroptimist International clubs.
EDUCATION AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Poole Soroptimists are twinned, ie, have a friendship link, with Kathmandu Soroptimists. This coincides with International President Yvonne Simpson launching her appeal to raise funds to build a new college in Kathmandu. We have worked with the Toilet Twinning organisation (http://www.toilettwinning.org) to provide toilet facilities in Nepal. We also have a ‘Knitting for Nepal’ project, which has posted over 300 baby hats to Nepal. We hope to broaden this project in future.
We have received a charming message of thanks from SI Kathmandu:
Read all about our friendship link with SI Kathmandu and the work that Soroptimists are doing in Nepal here.
Out of Afrika:
Location: Thika Province, Kenya
The Club provides financial support to put a female student – Regina – through her secondary education in Kenya via the Poole-based charity Out of Afrika founded by the late Julie Martin, a former SI Poole member. We receive regular updates from Regina.
Soroptimist (Poole) Housing Association
The housing association was founded in the early 1960s to provide accommodation for single older women on limited incomes. The first property, Soroptimist House, was converted from a detached house and it now comprises 5 one bed flats and a studio unit. This was followed by a purpose built block, Phyllis Feistner House, named after a founder member of the Association. After a programme of refurbishment and alteration in 2008 it now comprises 13 one bed and 1 two bed units.
Both blocks are located in Lower Parkstone and offer accommodation to active tenants aged over 55 and generally on restricted incomes.
The Association has a Board of Management who are all volunteers, except the Company Secretary, and are all past or present Soroptimists. Although separate from SI Poole, all Club members can purchase a share in the Association and the Club President is an ex-officio member of the Board.
To mark the 90th birthday of HM Queen Elizabeth II, a camellia was planted in the garden of Soroptimist House (picture to follow).
And Past President Lynn had the honour of planting poppy seeds at Soroptimist House as part of the Borough of Poole’s poppy project marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.
SI Poole members planted 200 indigenous tree plants in Poole Park as part of its community initiative to make our environment better for our children. The park is used every day by women and children who walk and play in its safety and splendour.
By increasing the number of native trees and hedgerows we will encourage more colour and wildlife into the park. The trees will provide wildlife shelter from predators and the elements. Our native trees with berries and fruits will attract more birds into the park whilst the insects will love the trees with nectar rich flowers.
The trees will grow to form a natural hedge full of bright natural colours. SI Poole’s tree planting initiative is supported by The Woodland Trust and the Borough of Poole. The plants include Hawthorn, Field Maple, Rowan, Oak and Silver Birch, all native to the UK.
Club members took part in the Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Great Dorset Beach Clean at Worbarrow Bay. We collected up literally thousands to tiny pieces of polystyrene that had washed ashore as well plastic bottles, pieces of netting, food wrappers and the odd shoe. Beach rubbish, especially plastics, is both hazardous to wildlife and unsightly and regular clean-ups are essential.
As a matter of course, members recycle and distribute a range of items, including plastic bottle-tops, used stamps, foreign coins, pens, pencils and other children’s school stationery, greeting cards, redundant mobile phones, used spectacles, raffle ticket strips and used computer cartridges. One of our members regularly litter-picks the Castlemaine Trailway plus, via Broadstone in Bloom, the centre of Broadstone too.
PROJECT PROPOSAL TEMPLATE
Developed by Winchester Soroptimists, we’ve adopted and adopted this Project Proposal Template to ensure that our projects are robust and have measurable outcomes.