Soroptimist International Grahamstown club was chartered on 25 October 1975.
In memory of Pamela Paton
1 February, 1935 to 15 May, 2013
Pamela was a Founder Member of the Grahamstown Club that was chartered in 1975. She served as President and Secretary of the Club and was SISA Secretary on three occasions when Grahamstown provided the National Management Committee. She took an exceptional, no nonsense set of minutes, making her invaluable in this role.
Pamela represented the Soroptimists on the Village Green Committee since its founding in 1987, was its Chairman on occasion and provided sound advice to it at all times. As the Village Green Fair has been our source of income for all our many projects her contributions were invaluable. Nor was it only her sharp mind and wit that was important. She was always willing to take more than her share of the time to man our stall and help in any way possible.
Pamela participated in all activities of the Club and will be particularly remembered for her involvement with the Assumption Nutrition Centre and its Clinic. She never failed to hold up our banner both physically (in the case of our anti-rape banner) and ethically in all her diverse activities in the community and the country. She was an exemplary Soroptimist who will not be forgotten.
In her memory the Club will have a tower erected at Hobbiton at Fairewood, an outdoor education centre that the Club has supported over the years.
Those of us fortunately enough to have Pamela as a friend will always remember her wit and humour and the many hours we spent in laughter, in discussion (often heated) and in shared meals. We can never forget her absolute loyalty.
She has left a huge gap in us as individuals and as a Club.
Assumption Nutritional Centre
The Grahamstown Assumption Nutritional Centre has been an ongoing project. The centre is supported by the club to ensure that the children who are present are fed at specific times of the day. Support has also been given in the form of a large donation to buy a new industrial size stove.
Grahamstown Art Project
The Grahamstown Art Project is growing in leaps and bounds and now also offers an advanced class. Scholars between the ages of 15 – 17 years of Archie Mbolekwa is currently involved in this project with just slightly more than half being girls.
Grahamstown Rape Survivors Support Group (RSSG)
Our club treasurer, Beverly Ramstad, is representing us on the Rape Survivor Support Group and is the group’s Treasurer. The volunteers and coordinator of the RSSG are all reservists affiliated to the South African Police Service and have been fully trained to take court-ready statements. The RSSG has not received any funding from the Lotto and this has severely hampered their cash flow. Volunteers have, however, continued without reimbursement for taxi fares and the light. Our club matched a donation of R10 000 to keep the RSSG in operation.
Grahamstown Township Dance Project
This project has been ongoing for several years and remains a very exciting part of the club’s activities. Essentially the project was developed to empower girls and to provide much-needed activity for the township girls who had no other entertainment or extra-curricular activities. One of the dancers choreographed her own piece at the East London Eisteddfod and received gold.
Makana Junior City Council and Trauma Assistance Centre
Our club has been instrumental in getting both the junior city council and the Trauma Assistance Centre off the ground. In terms of the council, we continue to provide advice on issues such as food gardens, cleaning up the township and related projects. The trauma centre operates with assistance from Settlers Hospital and will act as a one-stop facility.
Hobbiton on Hogsback
The club continues to support the Hobbiton on Hogsback Educational Centre and has three members serving on its executive. Hobbiton has also cloned to Grahamstown and is locally known as Hobbiton-at-Fairewoods. This allows the local less fortunate children additional exposure as it is closer to town. A local school, Nombulelo Senior Secondary School goes for hikes at the centre every Thursday. The two Centres swop children exposing them to different environments and different aspects. The Fairewoods Centre also have a Survival camp teaching basic survival and Xhosa craft which is dying out from the urban Xhosa youth.
St Raphael Centre
This centre focuses on assisting women and children with AIDS testing and counselling. We continue to pay for the security of the premises and provide Christmas parcels for all the women and children in the centre’s care.