As some members are still reluctant to attend meetings in person for their own health and personal reasons and some members prefer to meet in person, SI Southport is continuing with ‘hybrid’ meetings to give our members most flexibility and freedom of choice.
One such meeting was our Friendship Night in October. In 2020, when lockdown precluded any gatherings, we had a wonderful Zoom meeting with all our friendship links present. This year, with more relaxed Covid security rules, Heather Shulver and her International Committee decide to revert back to the more traditional format, with a meal and a candle-lighting ceremony – but with a difference.
We started the meeting with candle-lighting WITH our friendship links on Zoom, as we did in 2020. Our friendship links were in full support – when else would there be an opportunity to celebrate together? We were joined by our friends from SI Caserta (Italy), SI Windemere (UK), SI Gdansk (Poland), SI Dhanmondi (Bangladesh) and SI Lisburn (Northern Ireland) – with a message from SI Horsens (Denmark), who were not able to join us as they were holding a big lecture night to raise money for ‘Moving the World to End Hunger’, a United Nations project providing food for schools.
Our friends told us about some of their projects, which included:
– providing thermo-scanners, eco-friendly bottles and interactive toys for the kindergarten of the University
– raising funds for the sponsorship of a girl in Swaziland
– knitting blankets over the lockdown
– recycling blister packs with a local pharmacy
– financing a cookery course and internship for victims of trafficking
– and many more!
The candle-lighting was followed by an amazing array of delicacies from the countries represented by our friendship links, prepared by Heather and the International Committee.
It was a very special evening for SI Lisburn – our friends in Northern Ireland were hosting their own Friendship Night with their links, SI Peterborough (Canada) and SI Drogheda (Ireland) and they also welcomed Soroptimist International President-Elect Maureen Maguire to address the meeting on her SI Appeal 2021-2023, ‘Opening Doors to a Bright Future’. With the aid of technology, we in Southport, together with our friendship links, were able to listen to the plans for the International Appeal, for which projects will be established in all five Soroptimist Federations.
It was a truly inspirational evening, just demonstrating the power of international co-operation and communication.