News and events SI Pretoria-Tshwane

Mapula Embroideries News Flash

It is with great pleasure that we announce that the Mapula Embroidery Project has, since December 2016, been registered as THE MAPULA EMBROIDERY TRUST and will from now on be introduced to the public as Mapula Embroideries. Mapula Embroideries is therefore now an independent entity under the auspices of THE MAPULA EMBROIDERY TRUST, with its separate NPO (Non-Profit Organisation) number. Soroptimist International Pretoria Club initiated this project in 1991. With the committed support of the SI Pretoria-Tshwane Club and Soroptimists in South Africa and worldwide the project has managed to reach this milestone and looks forward to a sustainable and successful future under the MAPULA EMBROIDERY TRUST with ongoing Soroptimist support.

More news on the chartering of SI Pretoria-Tshwane

During the chartering function on 28 May 2016, the following memebrs were honoured for their contributions to their club:

Left: Maureen Owen and Lorna Kotze receiving certificates of acknowledgement from Laurel Becker. Right: Rob and Dee Pullen with Laurel Becker who presented Dee with a bouquet of flowers in gratitude for her and Rob’s contribution to the Club.

SIFAF (Future African Federation) Conference in Madagascar

The biennial SIFAF conference was held during March 2016 in Madagascar. Sally Currin (SISAN outgoing President) and Laurel Becker (SISA President Elect), both members of our club, attended the gathering.

Left and top right: A Mapula bag was presented to the Conference Organisers.  Above: Chinwe (Past SIFAF Task Force Chairperson) in the Chair, Saida and Sally.

News on the Kibeho/Mapula outreach in Rwanda 2016

After the initial success of the training of the first 12 women in Kibeho, Rwanda, by the women from the Mapula Embroidery Project and SI Pretoria-Tshwane, the Priest of the Holy Land Kibeho Sanctuary contacted Netty Butera, wife of the Rwandan High Commissioner in South Africa, and asked if another 19 women who were begging at the Holy Shrine, could be trained and incorporated into the Holy Land Embroidery Project.

We are now pleased to report that we received enough funding for a follow up visit in July 2016 to manage the integration and training of the women into the group. Soroptimists Janetje van der Merwe, Helene Potgieter and José Vermeij, with the help of Vianney Rangira and two volunteers from Pretoria, will now be able to go in July 2016 to train the women and also work with the initial group of 12 women to enhance their embroideries, and refine the tracing and the designs. Our sincerest gratitude goes to all who sponsored the venture.

Thank you to the Soroptimists in the Netherlands of whom Tonny Filedt Kokt personally donated an amount of over R22 000 followed by Clubs SI Scheveningen and SI Ede who each donated 525 Euros.

Left: Bags embroidered by the women of Kibeho in Rwanda. Right: Soroptimist Ina Roos and friend from Rwanda, Louise, selling Mapula and Kibeho goods at the bi-annual holiday market arranged by the US Embassy in Pretoria.

  • Fundraising event

A Rwanda-themed event successfully raised R7 000 for the training of the additional 19 women in Kibeho. Thank you to all our supporters who helped to create an inspiring, fun and profitable evening! A sewing machine, embroidery cottons and fabric donated to the Holy Land Kibeho Embroidery Project in Rwanda to the value of almost R15 000 were presented by the Pretoria Boys’ High School learners during a fundraising evening.


From l to r: HE Mr Vincent Karega, Rwandan High Commissioner to South Africa, learners from the Pretoria Boys High School, Cheznay Drabile, Neeran Naidoo, Mrs Netty Butera, wife of the Rwandan High Commissioner, Chad Gold, Franciscus Crouse (Chair: Pretoria Boys’ High School Students Representative Council) and Soroptimist Marina Petrou, teacher and  Master-in-charge of the Pretoria Boys High Students Representative Council.

Friendship links and friends supporting Mapula

monica Faye friends

Anne Mari Pedersen of Club SI Oslo selling Mapula bags at their AGM in Norway where 200 delegates attended. The small bags sold within the first 10 minutes!

A donation of U$D500 we received from SI Westminster, went towards the purchasing of a new sewing machine for the Mapula Project in order to improve the quality of the finished off products. The rest of the money went towards school uniforms of the children of the Mapula embroiderers. Thank you to Sue Gilbey and all the kind members of SI Westminster who made this possible.

Tateni-St Francis Drop-in Centre

Additional books were purchased for the library at the Tateni-St Francis Drop-In Centre with funds received from SI Taunus.

TateniOn the right is Librarian Pinky Macheke and, in training, Nonhlanhla Shongwe with children.

Underwear project in Atteridgeville

'Jane's underwear

Launch of SI Pretoria and Jane’s Underwear project at the Makgatho Primary School in Atteridgeville.

Soroptimist Jane Tsharane (left), Head Mistress of the Makgatho Primary School in Atteridgeville joined our club in 2014 and began with the underwear initiative for a 1000 needy learners. “Most learners cannot afford to buy underwear, they’re expensive and they are not a priority for parents. Learners cannot be playful and free, their sense of pride and self-acceptance is stolen by not wearing underwear, and this may lead to abuse and molestation and a low self-esteem.

 The project will benefit less fortunate learners in three partner schools; the community that will benefit from the project are from the West side of Pretoria, mainly Atteridgeville. Those from underprivileged areas include the informal settlement as well as child headed and granny headed families”.

To raise funds for this project, artist and Soroptimist Mimi van der Merwe donated an oil painting of which raffle tickets were sold during the year. Half of the income of almost     R7 000 went to the underwear project.

Mapula Project

  • Empowerment of women

The Mapula Women’s empowerment and training programme which was started four years ago, thanks to the financial support received from SI Ede in the Netherlands, is slowly gaining momentum. Eight women enrolled for an accounting course of three and a half months and arrangements have been made for the Mapula Project to be registered as a Trust. Regular monthly Board Meetings are held where women are taking on the responsibilities of certain aspects of the running of the Project.

Sadly the Chairperson of the Board, Elizabeth Dibakwane passed away during the year. Dorah Hlongwane who acted as Deputy Chair will be taking over as Chair.

  • Donations for school uniforms

An amount of U$D500 donated by SI Westminster will go towards the children of the Mapula embroiderers to assist them with school uniforms for the 2016 year and for the purchasing of a new sewing machine for the project. Thank you to Sue Gilbey and members of SI Westminster.

Mapula children

Some Mapula children in the Winterveld with their new school uniforms at the beginning of 2015.

Our oldest Friendship link, SI Mariager Fjord, which has been managed over the years by Ellen Vagn Nielsen has been selling Mapula Bags for years. Thank you again for your donation in 2015. This will also go towards the much needed school uniforms for the children of the Mapula women.

  • Transferring skills to women in Rwanda

SI Pretoria and the Mapula embroiderers were approached by the Rwandan High Commissioner to SA’s wife, Netty Butera, to advise and initiate a project in Kibeho, Southern Rwanda, similar to the Mapula Embroidery Project in an attempt to alleviate poverty and assist women in that area.

Through Tonny Filedt Kokt (SIE African representative) and SI Ede, funding was received from SI Schevingen (R55 000) and SI Ede (R13 000), both from the Netherlands. In July 2015 two Mapula women and Soroptimist Janetje van der Merwe went to Kibeho for two weeks to train 12 women. Janetje, accompanied by Netty Butera and Helene Potgieter made a follow up visit in November 2015. Janetje stays in contact with Jeanne Kamana, SI Union President and Programme Director, Rwanda, whom she met in Butare in July 2015.


Rossina Maepa of the Mapula Project shows Anathali some embroidery stitches.


Women selling their embroidered goods in November during a Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary in Kibeho, Southern Rwanda.

Friendship Links

  • SI Pretoria and SI Harrogate and District are officially linked

SI Pretoria is experiencing the joy of being linked in Soroptimist Friendship with the globally aware, concerned and active members of the SI Harrogate and District Club, Yorkshire, UK. Since our official registration in March 2015 and through collaboration in the Tateni-St Francis Drop-In Centre library project (see article under Programme Action) we have been introduced to many members and we feel connected by a common purpose and through our shared values. We look forward to many years of joint service and, of course, the growing understanding and friendship that will develop and deepen.

  • SI Southern England-SI South Africa Association

Barbara Watts, accompanied by husband Peter Watts from the UK came to investigate the possibility of a SI Southern England-SI South Africa Association internship project

  • SI Oslo

Monica Faye, previous SI Pretoria Soroptimist and now an active Soroptimist with SI Oslo in Norway was delegated by her club to join SISA’s  50 th AGM anniversary held in Port Elizabeth at the beginning of September. It was so heartening to have a representative all the way from Oslo!  Judith, Hannah, Regina and I met with her for coffee in Pretoria on her way back to Norway. So lovely to keep contact. Thank you Monica and SI Oslo.

  • SI Taunus celebrations

SI Pretoria and SI Taunus sponsored Janetje van der Merwe so that she could represent SI Pretoria and strengthen Friendship Link ties with SI Taunus during their club’s 30th anniversary. Felicitas Hubert, one of our previous Club Presidents hosted Janetje and facilitated her visit in Germany. At the celebrations SI Taunus donated 1000 Euros towards the Mapula and Tateni Projects. Thank you to SI Taunus for your wonderful hospitality and support.


Members of Club SI Taunus with Felicitas Hubert in the middle.

Tateni Project

  • New library at St Francies Drop-in Centre

After months of fund raising, planning and hard work the Zozo hut on the grounds of St Francis Anglican church in Mamelodi had been revamped and converted into a stimulating, stocked mini-library and private (counselling) space and was ready to be officially opened on the 13 April 2015 and used by the members of the St Francis Drop-In Centre. A great celebration was had with all stakeholders!

Of course, such an exciting achievement does not happen all on its own! We thank the Hans-und-Gretel-Burkhard Stiftung, the SISA Trust, SI Taunus, SI Harrogate and District (and friends), Qualibooks, Biblionef and many individuals who donated both funds and in-kind to make this possible. In addition, our two library assistants, Bridget and Pinky, and Mrs Bam have been key to getting the library functioning and to them we are indebted.

Our stock of 1426 activity, fiction, non-fiction and reference books does not lie idle! The children have access to the library three afternoons per week for: facilitated sessions to motivate their interest and improve their reading; for silent reading and book borrowing; for library skill development.

2016 will begin in a very exciting way  –  there will be a collection of new books, funded by SI Taunus and SI Harrogate and District, ready and waiting to be borrowed; the new book bags donated by SI Harrogate (and embroidered with the Yorkshire rose!) will be presented to each child; the title ‘There’s a Dragon in her Blood’ in numerous indigenous languages and accompanied by a wall frieze, donated by Biblionef, will be displayed and ready for reading; each child will receive a Polo Shirt which comes all the way from a friend in Harrogate……..AND, the penfriend exchange will begin with Mooreside Junior School in Harrogate. Already introduction letters have been written and posted!

Those involved with and who contribute towards this project can end the year feeling very satisfied as the library facilitators report improvements in reading abilities and, overall, confidence and enthusiasm for what for many is a very daunting aspect of schooling and life.

This very important project can, with the awareness of the need for effective reading abilities and the committed friends and partners, only go from strength to strength in 2016.


Tateni – St Francis Library and Literacy Project 2015


New Book Bags donated by SI Harrogate

  • St Francis Carer Project

SI Pretoria has for many years part-funded the stipend of a home visitor and drop-in centre carer for Tateni. So many destitute and chronically ill Mamelodi residents have over that time come to love Maria Mogashoa and rely on her visits and services. We salute her! And, we admire her dedication and commitment to vulnerable people. We thank her for her selfless service.

For the last two years our member, Yolandi Olivier, has co-ordinated a ‘bend over boutique’ project which, through the sale of second hand clothing, has funded Maria’s stipend. We are grateful to Yolandi for her significant contribution which results in the easing of life’s burdens for so many.

  • St Francis Personal Development and Enrichment Project 2015

We were sad to say good-bye to Tiffany Homeshaw (SI Pretoria) and Sonya Boylan when they were, towards the end of the year, transferred by the Australian HC to Canberra and Teheran respectively.

Tiffany, a qualified social worker, had for two years worked with the senior children of St Francis Drop-In Centre to, through various exposures and engagements, enrich their lives and build their personal life and coping skills. She, with her sincere interest in the children’s well-being and total commitment to making a difference, is really missed. We have not managed to fill this role at the Centre and hope to achieve this in 2016. Sonya facilitated art sessions and played games with the children whenever she could (which was often!)….her energy, warmth and, of course, the treats added a wonderful dimension to the St Francis activities, and gave the regular carers a welcome break! We know that the communities in Teheran are the richer for having her there!

We are hopeful that the SI Southern England-SI South Africa Association internship project will be realised during the second half of 2016.

Sally Currin, Project Co-ordinator

Newsletter 2015

Read the SI Pretoria newsletter highlighting some of the events of 2015.

Newsflash PRETORIA CLUB Nov 2015


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s