50th Soroptimist International South Africa’s National Association AGM

The 50th SISA AGM will take place in Port Elizabeth.

Date: 4th – 6th September 2014.

The conference will commence at 14:00 on the Friday with a Workshop and will end on the Sunday at 13:00.

Venue: Courtyard Hotel (part of the City Lodge Group Hotels), Port Elizabeth.

Registration details to follow.

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Soroptimists shocked at xenophobic attacks

As South African Soroptimist members we are shocked at the recent xenophobic attacks in our country. We are angry, sad and ashamed that once again these terrible acts of violence have been allowed to take place.

We would like to offer our condolences to the families that have been affected by these attacks and will where possible help where we can.

As Sally Currin (SISAN President and SIFAF vice chair Southern Region) said,

“Such inhumanity to one another is unforgivable, especially in our country which believes that a central value is “ubuntu” The vast majority of our people are outraged by the “Afriphobia” and are protesting and assisting the displaced in various ways to express their horror and commitment to stop the violence. We need deep and sustained programmes to remove this scourge completely.”

Let us all come together and collectively join the protests taking place all over our country. Let us come together in harmony and drown out the voices of hate. (Direct quote from the Avaaz petition team)

Lisette Genseberger

SISA President

SIFAF South African Ambassador.

20 April 2015

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New club chartered in The Eastern Cape, South Africa: SI King Sabata Dalinyebo


A pioneering group of women, led by Irene Kholosa, reached their goal on Saturday, 22 November, 2014. The very first Soroptimist club in this deep rural area of the Eastern Cape was chartered! The SI South Africa (SISA) President, Lisette Genseberger, who had steadfastly mentored the women’s group  over three years, Lieske Bester, a SI member of 35 years standing, Gail Charalambous, SISA’s Vice President and Sally Currin, SIGBI FCC, proudly welcomed a further 18 Soroptimists into the National Association. In true Xhosa tradition there was much singing, praise and enormous generosity.

After the formalities and sustenance the whole group visited Irene Kholosa in hospital –  a cruel irony that she had not been able to attend the chartering of SI KSD and witness its welcoming into the SIGBI fold. The group then moved on to Bethany Children’s Home, one of the main projects of SI KSD.

We ended this special day with a visit to Qunu, the village of Nelson Mandela’s childhood and area of his final resting place. A tour of the museum had to compensate for the disappointment that we could not get close to his homestead and grave.

SISA knows that Madiba would be deeply satisfied if he knew of the establishment of a Soroptimist club in the area that remained profoundly important to him. SI KSD is positioned to build on his legacy.


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Change is Inevitable, Embrace It

Lisette Genseberger H&SI have always spoken about my Soroptimist work as one long journey, filled with energy, challenges, life long friendships and the incredible opportunities of meeting like minded, strong and committed women who all wish to make a difference to the lives of the women and children that our organisation supports.

2014 is a year in which I celebrate 30 years of being a member of this incredible organisation as well as being inducted as National president of South Africa.

I was a member of SI False Bay (1985), SI Zwolle (Netherlands) and on my return to South Africa in 2005 I joined SI Cape of Good Hope. I can honestly say that my work and Soroptimist life have helped make me the person I am today.

I have been privileged to visit all the South African clubs during the past 2 years and am always in awe of what our members are managing to do under very difficult circumstances. It is good to see that some long standing projects are now in the phase of equipping and empowering those women to stand on their own two feet so that they are able to manage their own business.

As far as positive change is concerned, I will continue to encourage our members to embrace what social media has to offer via club websites, Facebook, Twitter and most importantly, recording our wonderful projects on the Soroptimist International Programme Action on–line database.

I am also encouraged that most of our clubs will be adopting the Dignity Dreams project, which provides reusable sanitary ware to girls and young women in disadvantaged and rural areas. This project aligns itself closely with SISAN’s( Soroptimist International Southern African Network) Girl Child project which strives to keep the girl child at school.


I am also very proud to have been part of the journey of chartering a new club in Mthatha (Eastern Cape) in November this year. I wish to thank Sally Currin, Bev Ramstead and Makkie Setshedi for assisting in this process. The official Charter Ceremony of SI King Sabata Dalindyebo will take place on 22 November 2014 and I wish to invite you all to attend.

Yours in friendship,

Lisette Genseberger

SISA President

September 2014.


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Welcome to the SISA National AGM 2014

ST JamesI would like to welcome you all to our National AGM which is taking place at The Riverside Estates, Hout Bay from 5 to 7 September 2014. The organising committee is working hard to ensure that you will enjoy the weekend in one of the most beautiful cities in South Africa.

On the Friday afternoon delegates and observers are encouraged to participate in the Membership SWOT analysis under the guidance of our Vice-President, Laurel Becker.

Representatives and guests will be informally welcomed at a cocktail party in the evening.

On Saturday Sally Currin, National President, will together with her team, be responsible for the day’s programme.

The Saturday evening formal dinner will feature our guest speaker, Chaeli Mycroft from the Chaeli campaign.

Sunday morning is all about Programme Action (our projects) This will include Jill Hayes from the Tbag designs in Hout Bay, Dignity Dreams, feedback from our two Trust Fund recipients, namely the Tateni Home Carers project in Mamelodi, Johannesburg and a presentation on the Lourier Primary school Library in Retreat, Cape Town.

We are also excited to share the news that we will be chartering a new club in Mthatha on 22 November, 2014.

If you still need to register for our Conference, please contact Kathy Gentz via email at KathyGentz@telkomsa.net.

I hope many of you will join us. See you soon.

Lisette Genseberger


Programme Action Officer

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Abduction of Nigerian school girls

SISA President Sally Currin on the abduction of 200 Nigerian school girls:
We watch in absolute disbelief at what has happened and how the days and weeks are passing without finding the girls. This is a REAL NIGHTMARE and, of course, a huge step back for the progress that has been made in the education of girls in Nigeria. We condemn it in the strongest possible terms and stand in solidarity with Soroptimists in Nigeria as they protest and fight for the fundamental human rights of women and girls.
In this week’s address, US First Lady Michelle Obama honoured all mothers on Mother’s Day and offered her thoughts, prayers and support in the wake of the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls. I urge you to find the time to watch this address on YouTube. Just cut and paste this link onto your URL web browser bar: http://youtu.be/PAncJ3nuczI

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Eliminate Female Genital Mutilation

Clitoraid helps FGM victims obtain restorative surgery to reverse FGM effects

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 23, 2014/ — Following the tragic death of a 13-year old Kenyan girl who underwent female genital mutilation (FGM) last Monday, an organization that helps FGM victims obtain restorative surgery to reverse FGM effects, is urging Kenyan Health Secretary James Macharia to open Kenya’s first clitoral repair hospital.

“FGM reversal surgery, which restores clitoral functioning, is a powerful deterrent to the barbaric, cruel and dangerous practice of female genital mutilation,” said Clitoraid (http://www.clitoraid.org) Communications Director Nadine Gary. “Why do something so unpleasant and painful when the results can easily be undone?”

Clitoraid, which is in the final stages of opening a state-of-the-art clitoral repair clinic in Burkina Faso, also organized a humanitarian mission in Bobo Dioulasso last month in which 38 FGM patients recovered clitoral function.

“Four American volunteer doctors traveled to Burkina Faso to do those surgeries, and thanks to them, those 38 patients will now enjoy their lives as complete women,” Gary said. “The same humanitarian mission must be organized in Kenya without delay. Countless FGM victims have written to us from Kenya, and they’re begging us to provide the service in Kenya. They need our help to regain their sense of dignity and their capacity for physical pleasure.”

Gary said her organization has written to James Macharia offering to come and train a Kenyan surgeon to do the clitoral repair procedure free of charge if he or she is willing to learn the technique.

A pan-African FGM conference organized by Burkina Faso’s First Lady, Chantal Compaore, was held April 24-26 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. “No time should be wasted, since we must act at once to save lives!” said Gary

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Future Africa Federation Conference in Pretoria

DSC_3475DSC_3469DSC_3472DSC_3471The Soroptimist International Southern Africa Network (SISAN), in partnership with the task force of the Proposed SI African Federation is hosting the Soroptimist International Future Africa Federation (SIFAF) Conference in Pretoria, Greater Metropolitan City of Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa from Thursday 20 March to Saturday 22 March, 2014. Members of SI South Africa (SISA) form the organising committee. The aim of the Conference is to lay the foundation for the Future Africa Federation.

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SISA supports Dignity Dreams

Dear Sisters
Please see the project below. This such a perfect project for us…and a national collaboration would make it so much more powerful in every way.
Sally Currin
President: SISA

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dignity dreams new pads.5DIGNITY is the birth right of every girl and woman – and it starts with education
Can we really afford to let young girls miss 60 school days EVERY year?

Why we need your support
Every time you donate money, sewing machines, over lockers or polycotton material you are helping us achieve our two goals:
• To distribute 1 000 packs per month to girls and women.
Our market research indicates that young girls have the greatest need for our Dignity Dreams packs – it is them who miss up to 60 school days per year; marry too young and have their own children at an age when they should be experiencing the joys of youth.
• To create sustainable employment by giving previously unemployed women and men the opportunity to acquire a skill and earn a decent wage.
Every Dignity Dreams pack purchased means that the previously unskilled, unemployed women and men we employ, will earn a decent wage and be able to support and educate their families! Dignity Dreams packs are proudly made and produced in South Africa.
Our approach to doing business
1) Partnerships – Start conversations between girls, women, community and church leaders, social workers, volunteers about taboos, gender and human rights and misinformation regarding their bodies. By strengthening our partnerships we will have a measurable impact on communities and societies;
2) Transfer skills to previously unemployed women and men and set up protective workshops;
3) Ensure that our environment is not polluted by sanitary wear.

For more information and banking details contact:
Sandra Millar sandra@dignitydreams.co.za
Melodie Heyns melodie@dignitydreams.co.za
Tel 012 430 2630 or 082 555 4905

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Controversial rape section in Moroccan penal code could be scrapped

Morocco aims to repeal part of its penal code allowing rapists who marry their victims to go free, according to lawmakers.
Article 475 of the Moroccan penal code is a controversial holdover from the North African kingdom’s colonial era that has in recent years resulted in some rape victims committing suicide.
The Commission of Justice, Legislation and Human Rights, part of the Moroccan parliament’s lower house met on Wednesday, 8 January and voted unanimously to repeal the provision of Article 475 that allows a man who rapes a minor to go free if the victim marries the assailant.
Moroccan civil society has aimed to cancel the controversial law for decades, but it was the death of Amina Filali, a 16-year-old who killed herself by drinking rat poison, that forced lawmakers to address the issue, after a public outcry drove Moroccans into the streets.
Click below to join thousands who are demanding reform of this rape law:

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