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May 2022 – Holiday at Home – Meru Women’s Garden Project









We hear a lot these days about taking a holiday at home, because the Covid-19 pandemic prevented us from travelling abroad.  At our May Social Meeting, Woking Soroptimists learned about a holiday at home with a difference.  Claire Nix, our speaker, told us about the two-day event organised by the Church of the Good Shepherd in Pyrford every year. ‘Holiday at Home’ is for the more senior members in the community. During the two days, the ‘holidaymakers’ enjoy a wide variety of activities.  Find out more here.

Meru Women’s Garden Project

The Meru Women’s Garden Project was a Great Britain and Ireland four-year project, 2015-18.   In cooperation with, Soroptimists aimed to teach women in the Meru district of Kenya  to grow their own vegetables and take surplus produce to market.  The women received horticulture training and other support.  SI Woking partnered with the members of SI Weybridge to raise funds for the project.  They organised a fashion show with afternoon tea in 2016 and again in 2018, and raised around £3,000 for the Meru project.

We support many projects for a limited time and we like to know how successful they are in the longer term.  Now we have heard from Margaret Ikiara how the project has been doing since 2018.   Margaret Ikiari reported that the original aims are still being met.   Women have learned to grow vegetables and to run a successful business by taking a market stall with other women to sell surplus produce.  As a result, the women understand their potential. They are empowered to play a more prominent role in their community.  The charity behind the project has added further actions and help in the last four years.  There are, for example, sexual health programmes, FGM information programmes for schoolgirls and communities (recommending an alternative to the traditional rite), information programmes for men and boys.  There is practical support for teenage mothers who learn useful economic skills such as beadwork, hairdressing and beauty therapy, in addition to childcare.

Margaret Ikiari also mentioned plans for the future.  They want to offer accommodation to battered women or teenage mothers rejected by their family.  They also need more sewing machines for the Sanitary provision project.  And more water tanks for the gardens are always in demand.  To learn more, you can contact Ciford here.