I would like to start by wishing all the South African Soroptimists a productive, happy and fun-filled year. I am now in my second term of office and am still energised and driven to help make a difference in the lives of women and girls in our country. We are living in difficult and turbulent times but this only makes us stronger and more determined to help where we can.
I once again had the privilege to attend the SIGBI conference, this time in Glasgow last November and one of the highlights for me was that I was invited to meet HRH Princess Anne who spoke on her “Save the Children Fund”. Networking, speaking to a Resolution we submitted and accepting the Environmental Sustainability award on behalf of my club, SI Cape of Good Hope were other highlights of this conference.
We voted to support The Meru Women’s Garden project in Kenya as the new SIGBI project for 2016-2019. Yvonne Simpson, SI President also gave us some background on her President’s appeal 2015-2017 – Educate to Lead: Nepal. She thanked all those clubs and members who had already generously supported SI Kathmandu in Nepal to help rebuild their lives after the devastating earthquakes last year. The aim of the appeal is to raise 320 000 pounds which, as SI President Yvonne said, is the equivalent of a coffee and cake for each Soroptimist member throughout the world.
Margaret Emsley was inducted as our new SIGBI president and her theme for the following year is “Engineering the Future” partially motivated by her own career. Margaret also intends to embrace the wider topic of STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The aim is to raise awareness of career opportunities in STEM for young girls. My challenge for you this year is to share those project successes which embrace the above ideals.
SIGBI has also launched a Membership campaign which will focus on different topics during the following five months. The ‘Ask me why I am a Soroptimist” slogan will be used to facilitate and engage prospective members to join this incredible organisation. Please share your stories and events on your club Facebook pages, websites and of course the SIGBI Magazine.
On a local level SI Port Elizabeth is busy preparing for the SI South Africa Art Auction on the 14th April 2016. We are encouraged to submit art works which will help make this a successful event.
Our National Executive will continue to help and monitor clubs in South Africa that need our help and a Membership Workshop is planned for the 16th April 2016, in Mthatha for the members of SI KSD.
I look forward to your continued support this year.
You are all one of a kind!