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December 2021 – #16DaysofActivism – National Tree Week – Centenary Tree – Your Sanctuary – anti-FGM campaign – Women’s Health

Women’s Health

In the last few years, we have realised that the healthcare women get is not as good as it should be.

Now the UK government has published a policy paper about women’s health.  It is called ‘Our Vision for the Women’s Health Strategy for England‘.   The government will publish its strategy to improve women’s health in 2022.

It’s a positive first step.  Now we must follow developments and lobby for a good result from these first intentions!

Anti-FGM campaign

We have followed the actions of Hope for Girls and Women since Rhobi Samwelly came to tell us about it some years ago.  Rhobi, herself a survivor of FGM, leads this campaign in Tanzania to help girls who do not want to be cut.  This month, we again made a donation to this cause.

In Britain, we spend December preparing for Christmas and New Year festivities.  In Tanzania, and in other countries, it is the beginning of the ‘cutting season’.  This is a time when girls and boys undergo rituals as a passage to adulthood.

In her report , Rhobi talks about helping girls who cannot go back to their families.  Hope for Girls and Women helps them prepare for their future:  “Seven girls passed their examinations to join secondary education.  Six hundred and seventy-two girls were trained in lfe skills and reproductive health. …We’re currently housing around one hundred and fifteen girls with more rescue operations underway.”

The campaign raises awareness in rural communities  as well as providing safe houses, legal support and educational opportunities. I f you want to help these girls in Tanzania, you can donate on the Hope for Girls and Women website/

Your Sanctuary

December is a month of preparation and excitement.  There are festive days and family reunions to look forward.  But for the women who have taken refuge from violence in the home, it can be a very sad month.  So this month we have collected some lovely body and hair care products to raise their spirits.


Our cover photo for December is about the United Nations campaign to free women from violence.  ’16 Days of Activism’ started in November and continues into December.

Why the campaign?  Because women suffer acts of violence in every area of society.  Take a look, for example, at the Safe Gigs for Women website: it aims to make music events safer for women.  Read also this article by The Independent.

We were pleased to support the event organised by our sister organisation Zonta in Guildford at the end of November 2021.  It was an effective awareness-raising event attended by senior representatives of Surrey County Council and Surrey Police.  The main speaker was the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, Lisa Townsend.

National Tree Week

We chose National Tree Week to dedicate a Centenary tree in Woking town centre.  The silver birch in the renovated High Street commemorates the Soroptimist International Centenary in 2021.

We were delighted that the Mayor of Woking, Councillor Liam Lyons, came to lead our dedication ceremony and unveil the commemorative plaque beside the tree.   He said that he was ‘very pleased to unveil a plaque beside a tree planted in National Tree Week by Woking Soroptimists to recognise 100 years of Soroptimist International and 45 years in Woking.’









The first Soroptimist International Club in 1921 campaigned to save local trees.  So it seems very appropriate to choose a tree to mark this special year.  We look forward to seeing the tree flourish as we continue our community service in Woking.