AWARENESS – raising our own awareness, and others’, of the issues women and girls face both locally and globally
ADVOCACY – speaking out about these issues, to decision makers and politicians as well as the general public
ACTION – giving practical help, through organisations we know and trust.
We call this ‘Programme Action‘.
Our members support a number of charities and good causes, sometimes by fund raising, but often by providing help where it’s needed. What follows is a taste of our recent projects.
What are we doing about Climate Change?
We are about to embark on a big tree planting project in Stafford: watch this space for details! (And if you want to help out, just contact email@example.com ). This will commemorate the 100th birthday this year (2021) of Soroptimist International.
The tree in the picture was the start of our tree planting project. We planted this beautiful oak tree in Victoria Gardens, Stafford, to mark the Club’s 80th birthday in 2019.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We are passionate about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! The main focus of this project has been on our use of plastics. Plastic is far too useful to be able to eliminate it from our daily lives, but we are trying to reduce single use plastic. The following are some examples of how the Club has applied the 3 Rs:
Awareness: We started our work on plastics by each of us keeping a close eye on our recycling bin for a few months. We sorted, weighed, and assessed for reuse, and shared lots of tips on how to use plastics in a more environmentally friendly way. Since those early days we have shared lots of information about the impact of plastic on our environment, and many members support the Greenpeace campaign on this topic.
Supporting TerraCycle: TerraCycle is an initiative that collects the sort of plastics that are usually dumped or incinerated, and working with consumers and companies, finds ways to recycle almost any kind of waste. We support Roots Larder in Stafford, which acts as a collection point, and some of our members even help them with sorting the waste on a regular basis!
A monthly reminder! All club members have contributed to a calendar for 2022 that will have lots of good tips on how to approach plastic more sustainably. Watch this space!
Green tea anyone? Even the smallest actions can help. Shocked by the knowledge that the humble tea bag in most cases is a source of microplastics escaping into our environment (not to mention into our own digestive systems!) some of our members have changed from tea bags to leaf tea – and find it an improvement!
Bathroom packaging. Most people are aware of the amount of plastics in the kitchen, but the bathroom is also where most of us use a lot of plastic packaging. Many members are now enthusiastic users of bar soaps, shampoos, conditioners, home-made and hand-made cosmetics and toiletries.
Violence against Women
Every year we actively support the UN’s ’16 Days of Action Against Gender Abuse’. For more information about where to seek help, follow this link.
For more information about the current Domestic Abuse Bill, and how you can help to support it, read more here.
Since 1992 we have supported the work of Staffordshire Women’s Aid (link) by fund raising, rattling collection tins, taking a petition as far as No. 10 Downing St, (with the help of our MPs), written numerous letters to MPs about topics such as trafficking, women who have ‘no resort to public funds’, and the improvement of services to women victims of domestic abuse.
With the help of Dame Vera Baird (a London Soroptimist), the Victims Commissioner, we are currently working with other Clubs in our Region to observe what goes on in Domestic Abuse courts and help improve practice.
One of the few prisons for women in the UK is in our area: Drake Hall HMP. We have had a long-term interest in women’s imprisonment, knowing that when a mother is imprisoned it often means her children’s welfare may be seriously affected. They may be taken into care, or have to leave their home to be looked after by other family members. It is well documented that women are imprisoned for offences that would be dealt with more leniently for a man. While of course women should be imprisoned for serious offences, we believe there are better and more effective alternatives to imprisonment and we have worked on the Soroptimist / Prison Reform Trust research into this topic.
We also provide more practical support to the women in Drake Hall prison, relating to their mental health, and enhancing contact with their families… (Read More)
Vulnerable Young Parents – YPSS
Young People’s Support Service (YPSS) – a small unit in the NHS in Stoke on Trent that gave targeted support to young and very vulnerable parents and parents-to-be. We worked with this wonderful unit and their young people over a number of years, giving them ‘goody bags’ with essentials for the coming baby, some of which had been made by our own members. We also gave the staff retail vouchers that they could use to help the young mums provide clothing and other necessities for themselves and their babies. Our vouchers didn’t cost a lot, but they were very welcome to the young mums! Then, in 2018/9 we raised £1000 for the project… (Read more)
Swim to Save a Life: Aquatic Survival project – RNLI
Drowning is the third leading cause of death by unintentional injury worldwide. Many of the victims are women and girls because in some cultures girls are not encouraged to learn to swim – they are told they have much more important things to do. Yet women and girls are usually the ones who fetch water from open water sources, or have to travel by water.
Zanzibar has many small islands and peoples’ livelihoods are based on the sea. Dhows (small boats) are the main means of transport. The dhows are often overcrowded and they regularly capsize. With no life jackets many drown – mainly the women and girls because they can’t swim.