President’s message

Hello!  I am so pleased that you have found the website for Soroptimist International Southern England and I am particularly proud to welcome you in my capacity as President of our Region.  It is a real privilege to hold such an office, representing so many active, able and community-minded women in clubs in Dorset, Hampshire, and Surrey.

As SI members, our mission is to support women and girls locally, nationally and internationally and without exception, all 13 clubs run activities and initiatives that do just that.  This doesn’t mean that we forget environmental or other social issues.  Examples of this would be the work that we do to encourage people to buy less single-use plastic and our fundraising to improve sanitation and access to clean water for communities around the world.

During my year in office, I will be focussing on the needs of young women.  Their psychological well-being has received a great deal of publicity lately.  It is recognised that social-media is playing a hugely negative part in the lives of girls and young women, but sadly there are other harmful issues that they have to deal with as well.  Whilst I hope to bring about a greater understanding of these problems at regional meetings, it is good to know that there is help available.  I will be inviting speakers who are providing specialist support and advice in schools and in the community.  Bullying, abusive relationships, arranged marriages are some of the topics that will be covered.

In our region we are justifiable proud of our work in schools.  Our STEM  (Science, technology, engineering and maths) projects have been extremely successful.  Education is recognised as the key to empowerment and financial independence and Southern England Soroptimists work with many local and international projects that provide education and training.  We sponsor girls whose schooling would otherwise be impossible because of the basic cost of local education and their families’ difficult financial circumstances.  We love to see end of term reports that show the progress that they have made and their aspirations for the future.  Could we do more to engage with young women and girls?  Maybe we could.  I do so admire the energy and enthusiasm of young people and the way that they champion causes.  Would it be possible to start up Campus Clubs or 6th Form Clubs in our local schools and colleges?  I would love that.  Young women relate to projects such as the Red Box, Toilet Twinning and Centrepoint.  We are all singing from the same hymn sheet, aren’t we?  If you are interested in this concept and would like to introduce the idea to you school or college, please contact me via this website.  If you would like to hear more about club membership, please don’t hesitate in getting in touch.  See you soon, maybe?

With very best wishes,

Barbara Watts