Isn’t it a funny old time at the moment?!
Many of us around the world are living under Covid-19 restrictions and, as a result, several people have been asking us ‘What Is SI Rossendale Doing During Lockdown?’
As I write this blog post, in May 2020, I’m currently in my 7th week of lockdown, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic that has swept the world. In the last two and a half months, I have only left the house to go food shopping once a week.
Fortunately, we are some of the lucky ones. Not only is my family quite young and fit, and therefore not as ‘at risk’ as many other people, but we also live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country; Rossendale.
Our house, on the edge of the East Lancashire Moors, has several acres of land with it, which means we can get outside in the garden and play in the field with the horses. We recognise that our lockdown experience is a world away from that being experienced by many others around the world.
How Is The Coronavirus Pandemic Affecting Women And Girls?
The Coronavirus pandemic has meant massive changes to everyone in the world, but naturally those changes have hit women and girls especially hard. There have been several reports in the news lately detailing how the fallout from Covid-19 will exacerbate inequalities for women and girls.
As an organisation, the Soroptimists exists to help women and girls achieve equality and succeed despite the obstacles put in their way, whatever they may be. Over the past 100 years, we’ve had a lot of work to do (and have, of course, achieved many things), but it could be argued that, if ever the Soroptimists were needed, that time is now.
Thanks to the Coronivirus crisis, gender based violence is on the rise again and children are at an increased risk. The home is not a safe place to be for hundreds of thousands of women and girls. Even right here in the UK, calls to domestic abuse hotlines have increased exponentially and women’s refuges are packed, as women are locked away with their abusers, with added stresses, for weeks on end.
Children are being locked in the home with neglectful and/or abusive parents/guardians and, without the lifeline of school, are unable to escape for a few hours or seek help.
Parents being unable to work means that poverty is on the increase again and children are particularly at risk. This is exacerbated by children being unable to go to school, where they would at least have received one good meal a day. Again, this is happening all over the world, but even here in the UK food bank use has once again increased and food parcels are being delivered to children who would normally receive a free school meal.
On the whole, the picture is grim for many, many women and girls. And even those who aren’t actively in immediate danger are being denied the opportunity to get an education and achieve more.
Unfortunately, none of these issues is easily solved, as the threat to humanity from the virus is far greater at the moment, making lockdown essential.
However, for those women and girls suffering at the moment, organisations such as the Soroptimists have sprung into action to do what we can to help.
What Are Soroptimists Doing During Lockdown?
As an organisation, SIGBI members across the UK have been working hard on various projects to help their local and global communities.
And despite being on lockdown ourselves of course, the ladies of SI Rossendale have been working hard too to help where we can. In addition to our crowdfunding campaign recently, which raised funds for our local women’s refuge, several members have been working on little projects of their own.
Some of these have been to provide support to the community, some are simply projects to help them keep busy. After all, like every other woman in the world, we’re just doing our best to get through lockdown the best way we can.
Here are just a few of the things the members of SI Rossendale have been up to recently.
Here’s our President, Joan, along with Samara Barnes of the Rossendale Red Bag Project, filling the boot with toiletries to be delivered to the women’s refuge;
Here’s Anna Mai, providing telephone support to the bereaved;
This is Carol, knitting squares to make a blanket for the Women’s Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia;
Our President Elect, Alison, has been busy preparing for her new role as a Grandma;
And when not delivering essential supplies to the women’s refuge, Joan, has been using the time wisely to get round to those projects that hang around endlessly;
And me. What have I been up to, you might ask? Well, mostly I have been tied to my laptop, helping to launch the brand new SIGBI website and ensure members from across the UK can access and use it well. I’ve been writing blogs, having Go-To meetings, doing webinars and filming video tutorials.
And, on the side, I’ve been having Zoom meetings with the Llandudno 2021 Conference committee, for which I am the Communications Lead. Oh, and I’ve been doing the social media for SI Rossendale too, to help spread the word about our current projects.
I might not be actively fundraising or knitting blankets, but I like to think I’m helping in my own way.
Would You Like To Get Involved With The Soroptimists?
Of course, whilst we may be going into week 8 of lockdown now but, in one sense, we’ve only just got going. None of us know how long lockdown is going to go on for, however, the chances are we’re going to be in some form of it for some time to come.
Hence, now that we’re all starting to find our feet, I’m sure there will be many more fundraising projects coming up. In fact, I’m Programme Action Officer for 2020/2021, so I’d better start thinking up some of them!
If you have an idea for how SI Rossendale can help you or your organisation, or if you’d like to get involved with us and help fundraise, please do get in touch with us using the contact form on the website. Alternatively, you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.