A Welcome from our President

Jen at home
It is a great pleasure to be a Soroptimist and to have become their President for this year.
I have always been a ‘helper’, wanting to support others who couldn’t support themselves, for whatever reason and through no fault of their own. Soroptimist International fulfils this need as its focus is to help women and children across the world. As a Soroptimist I have helped raise awareness of issues which affect them, such as FGM, Trafficking and Domestic Abuse, using regular presentations in the town. Through research and listening to talks on the subjects at the club, I have widened my own knowledge and understanding. Basic Human Rights are at the heart of these and it has made me realise just how much we take those basic needs for granted – food, water and shelter.
Education for all is an important area for me, having worked in it since leaving University, firstly in
teaching, and latterly, supporting young children with special educational needs. Extensive
travelling has shown me first-hand how education is held in high esteem in developing countries
and yet how little some children receive, whether through a lack of schools or school places, a
lack of text books or writing materials or simply not having the time to study because they are
expected to do daily tasks at home and in the daylight. Recently our club supported, through fund
raising, the international project, Cook Solar, See Solar which has enabled girls to have more
time for their education because they haven’t had to collect firewood for cooking and they have
been able to study in the early evening with the aid of a solar light.
Being a member of the Soroptimists does offer friendship and companionship which I value.
Recently five of us have been to Gouda to visit one of our friendship clubs to support and
celebrate their project Syria ‘Back to School’. We were met with such warmth and friendship, it
felt like being at home. With these close links and others in Joondaloup, Australia and Kobe,
Japan we can feel we are making a difference internationally.
Our club is small but very active and effective. Working together, having fun to raise money for
our charities helps to get to know each person as an individual and to form closer bonds with
each other. We all need to get something out of what we do. The more we do, the more we gain.
The more we work together, the greater the rewards. When we all work together towards the
same goal we achieve much more. As Aristotle is attributed in saying, ‘The whole is greater than
the sum of its parts.’ Everyone has value and together it is worth so much more.
Jenny Evans, President for Soroptimist International, Tiverton 2016
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