Soroptimist International of Swansea -85 years and onwards
Our Soroptimist club was formed in 1933 with Councillor Mrs. H.D. Williams as the first President.
Mrs. Dorothy Watkins became President in 1936 and attended the Soroptimist Convention in Atlantic City USA- quite an adventure at that time.
Since then, there have been successful projects and many members. All Swansea Soroptimists have certainly made a significant contribution to the club’s success, working quietly together for the benefit of those who need help. As we celebrated our 80th birthday, we paid tribute to members of SI Swansea, past and present, whose efforts have made a difference. As a club, we have a distinguished past and hope for an exciting future, carrying on with our work to improve the lives of women and girls.
And now, in SIGBI’s 80th year we are working to prevent the sexual exploitation of women and girls, in part by raising awareness through seminars and displays and through the distribution of information. This links with the current Soroptimist Regional (Wales South) project to raise awareness of and prevent modern day slavery and human trafficking. One of our club members has been appointed as Chair of the Western Bay Anti Human Trafficking Group. Another part of our project work this year will be to try to help the victims of FGM-we are supporting ‘28 Too Many’. This charity is seeking to challenge and end FGM in the 28 African countries where it is practiced, through better knowledge and more effective intervention.
We send best wishes to our friendship clubs in Cork (Ireland), Dundee (Scotland) Ft. Lauderdale (USA) and Mannheim (Germany). Perhaps our friendship clubs have similar projects, and we hope there will be an opportunity to exchange ideas.
SI Swansea –recent and current projects.
Educating- Empowering- Enabling
We provide essential toiletry items to the refuge in Swansea. The donations are much appreciated by women using the refuge in an emergency, to escape abuse. We have delivered household items to local housing and support service, Hafan Cymru, and we have donated funds to Swansea Women’s Aid –this organization provides 24-hour support for women who have experienced domestic abuse.
Members listen to individual children reading at a local school and new schoolbooks have been purchased from our donations. Pupils have also listened to members talk about their work, much appreciated by the school. Our aim is to educate and inspire young girls at the school.
Our travel fund provides modest grants to local young people undertaking charitable work a distance from home, to help with their travelling expenses.
For many years, we have provided support and presented prizes annually to local talented young musicians who excel in music examinations.
Members help to serve tea at a fund raising tea tent in Clyne, in support of Girl Guides in their attempt to raise funds for the local Guiding Centre.
In recent years we have supported local cancer charities such as Maggie’s Cancer Centre and the Cancer Information Service as well as Breast Cancer Care.
We have supported Wales Air Ambulance, Swansea Alzheimers, SYSHP (Swansea Young Single Homeless Project) anda local girl on the uiding GOLD project in Peru.
We have made donations to the local food bank in Swansea East, to Swansea Hope (night shelters for the homeless) and to Save the Children. These worthwhile charities are highly relevant in Swansea and supporting them raises the profile and status of Soroptimists locally
We support a student at Cape Verde, in one of the world’s poorest areas, so that she may continue with her secondary education.
In conjunction with a local College, we supported a school in Kenya with donations and supplies, delivered by the students on their regular visits to the school. We will also be filling shoeboxes and helping with Operation Christmas Child this year-this has been organized for many years by one of our members.
We have provided full backpacks to children attending school in Africa in support of the charity Mary’s Meals, and have made a substantial donation to the organization, following successful fund raising events during our 80th year.
We appreciate our local environment. We have taken part in beach cleaning days around Swansea and the Gower coast, and planted a tree to mark our birthday year. We enjoyed a sponsored walk along a section of the beautiful coastal path of Wales and raised funds for the Soroptimist BIG national project–Birthing in the Gambia.
Computer equipment including memory sticks was sent to Zanzibar to help Bigger Heart of Zanzibar-this organization links Wales with Zanzibar. We recycle other items whenever we can and collect old jewellery, spectacles, batteries, bras and mobile phones. They are all used or sold to raise funds for Soroptimist causes.
For more information, please see our club website and other websites below.