SISA celebrates its 50th anniversary

2015 has seen the 50th anniversary of the formation of the South African body of Soroptimist International.  The occasion was celebrated during SISA’s annual conference and 50th AGM, held in Port Elizabeth in September 2015.  The SI club of Port Elizabeth is South Africa’s oldest club (chartered 56 years ago) and was the host of this year’s conference.  SISA President Lisette Genseberger presented long service certificates to a number of South African Soroptimists, some of whom have been members for 30 years and longer!

For more information and photos visit the News and Events page.

Back:  SISA President Elect Laurel Becker & SISA Vice President Gail Charalambous;  front:  SISA President Lisette Genseberger with conference guest speaker Professor Denise Zinn of the Nelson Mandela Metro University.

Back: SISA President Elect Laurel Becker & SISA Vice President Gail Charalambous; front: SISA President Lisette Genseberger with conference guest speaker Professor Denise Zinn of the Nelson Mandela Metro University.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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

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

Lisette Genseberger


Programme Action Officer

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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 ( 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

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

dd uitsig.3

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
Melodie Heyns
Tel 012 430 2630 or 082 555 4905

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

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:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Message from Margaret Oldroyd, President: Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) Ltd

It is with the greatest sorrow that I have just learned of the death of former President Nelson Mandela. Flags are already at half-mast in London to show the respect with which he was held in the UK.

I am sure that this tribute will be repeated in countries across the world. He was one of the most remarkable statesmen of this or any time, earning the admiration of men and women of peace everywhere for his integrity and matchless courage in bearing witness to the truth at enormous personal cost.

David Cameron said tonight that ‘a light had gone out’. While that is true in one sense, I believe that the light of his example will live on and be used in many future situations, where violence is threatened, to show that there is another way. That is the most wonderful legacy – a light to live in the hearts of men. South Africa has every right to be enormously proud of one of Africa’s greatest sons – an outstanding world leader.

On behalf of their sisters across the Federation, I send your members our deepest sympathy at this time of national mourning.
In friendship

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Soroptimist International of South Africa mourns the passing of a great man

1920x1440-nelson-mandela-in-jail-desktop-wallpaper-hdSoroptimist International South Africa mourns the passing of a great man, the father of a nation and a kind and gentle soul and icon.

“This is a sad day which reminds us of the gap that is going to be part of our lives now that our revered leader and icon has departed. We need to be acutely aware of the work we have to do, to keep his legacy alive …. through our projects” Sally Currin President of Soroptimist International South Africa said.

In his inaugural speech as the first president of our republic, Nelson Mandela expressed his dream for all who live here, saying: “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all. Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfil themselves.” We are faced with many challenges and we still have many hills to climb in our quest for freedom and democracy. Soroptimist International South Africa will strive to heed your call, Tata, in working towards peace, freedom and a society free of violence where women and children enjoy respect and dignity.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment