Soroptimists from Clubs in the London Chilterns Region, including 8 Members of SI St Albans and District, gathered in Beaconsfield to mark Human Rights Day.
Four candles were lit – one to remember those in the world who are denied their human rights, the second to celebrate the work of women across the world, the third to celebrate the work of Soroptimists acrossSoroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (follow this link to find out more about the Spoon Project )and the fourth to celebrate the work of Soroptimists across the world.
Our first speaker was Janie Grover from SI High Wycombe & District who told us about her life-changing trip to Peru with the charity iProjects working on a construction project in Lima to improve the lives of a community. Poverty, crime and violence are rife in Lima which is home to 12 million people. Janie is now fundraising for the charity to continue its work. Janie is pictured here (l) with Regional President Jen Simpson (r).
After lunch we heard from Laura Kell from the Imperial College Healthcare Charity who spoke about the More Smiles Appeal that President Jen would like Clubs to support this year. Every year around 400 children are admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care unit at St Mary’s Hospital, but hundreds more critically ill children have to be turned away because of a lack of beds. In 2014, the unit turned away 233 children, over half of the number admitted.
Laura explained that they need to raise £2 million, and that although they have already raised £1.2 million there is still a long way to go. The money raised from this appeal will help expand and renovate the current facility into a new modern unit, increasing the number of beds from 8 to 15, allowing more than 200 extra children to be treated each year. This new unit will be modern and fit for purpose, with increased space around each bed, a dedicated fully equipped parents’ room and a bereavement room. No longer will difficult conversations take place at a crowded bedside or in a small parents’ kitchen with a lack of privacy. Laura Kell is pictured above (l) with Regional President Jen Simpson (r) – they were delighted to hear that a fabulous £223 had been raised on the day by generous Soroptimists donating to a spontaneous collection.
Before leaving for the day President Jen reminded us that her theme for the year is being ACTIVE (Aspirational, Collaborative, Tenacious, Inspiring, Vocal and Empowering) as role models for women and girls across the globe.
This photo shows what a lively group of women from around the Region attended this meeting and Human Rights Day celebration that we all look forward to every year.