Soroptimist means “best for women” and that’s what we strive to be—an organization of women at their best helping other women to be their best. As a volunteer organization of business and professional women we feel uniquely qualified to help women and girls live their dreams.
Throughout history and still to this day, women throughout the world face obstacles solely because of their gender. They disproportionately suffer from poverty and discrimination. It’s for this reason that Soroptimist, an organization of and by women, chooses to focus on the special challenges facing women and girls.
In order to accomplish this goal, the organization administers several international programs. The organization’s major project is the Live Your Dream Awards, which assist women by giving them the resources they need to improve their education, skills and job prospects.
Soroptimist, founded in 1921, is an international volunteer service organization for women. Soroptimist International of Surrey/Delta, charted in 1995, has contributed significant financial support to our Awards Programs and Community Donations Program, as well as many club volunteer hours on behalf of local Surrey/Delta organizations, committees, and projects that support our mission. This year, our club is proud to support the following community organizations, programs and club-driven projects:
Funding for Community Programs we support is provided through a BC Gaming Grant – “We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia”
Funding for Programs we support is provided through a BC Gaming Grant – We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia
They supply expectant mothers and new mothers with formula, milk, eggs, baby food and small baby items including educational toys and books each week for 1 full year. Some Tiny Bundle families require their hampers be delivered to their home. The delivery service provides expectant mothers with high risk pregnancies and post-partum moms their regular hampers as well as the baby items while they have mobility issues. In addition, the funding supports the operation and fuel costs for the vans.
Youth Unlimited continues to partner with Guildford Park Secondary for their Growing Together program, a successful program that they ran last school year and hope to maintain far into the future.
The students in this program are young women, many of whom have experienced trauma and have high ACES (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores. The ACE study shows just how much traumatic early life experiences are a significant predictor of negative health outcomes as adults (outcomes such as chronic disease, mental illness, substance abuse, unsafe sexual activity, poor academic/work performance, and intimate partner violence). The most effective way to combat a high ACES score has proven to be building resilience through safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. This is why Youth Unlimited are running programs like Growing Together – through the activities that they do with their students they build relationships that foster positive experiences, healthy relationships, and good community, combatting ACES experiences and helping to negate their effects.
To provide support and hope, teach wholeness and acceptance to female victims and survivors of sexual exploitation/domestic or international human trafficking. They offer workshops that specifically teach “How to Live Without Violence” by developing Healthy Relational Skills. Each session will offer a meal, and time of education about how PTSD is affecting their lives and introduce skill that can ease the stress and suffering. A support opportunity like this is not available to women in Surrey or anywhere in the Lower Mainland. Sixty women were served this year, not to mention the families of these women who benefited from this program. Women of Value provided information and hope by adding 2 seminars to men who are supporting women with PTSD.
This specific program provides transportation to women in crisis. In the past they have flown women fleeing abuse and trafficking to their home across the country, they have used staff vehicles to transport women to safe houses, shelters, rehabilitation facilities, MCFD meetings with their children, and so much more. This program would help hundreds of women in the Whalley area.
The Career Centre Services offer workshops and personalized assistance to improve the health and wellbeing of job seekers and give them the tools to succeed in their job search. Dressing Services are one-on-one consultations in their boutique to find interview and employment outfits. The Professional Women’s Group provides networking skill, mentorship and a support system for their employed clients. The workshops offer spots for 25 – 30 women per workshop, which would impact nearly 270 Women over the course of a year. This program would serve women and girls in the Surrey/Delta area who require these services.
Supplied and distributed by SI Surrey/Delta members to refugee moms and single moms who are returning to school and/or are in need of assistance with their new babies.
Handmade pillows given to women at the Cancer Centre. Pillows made by the sewing group at Peace Portal Alliance Church.
Provide birthday gifts, baby layettes, and personal care items to women in transition.
Provide purses full of personal care products to homeless and/or women-at-risk in our community.
The Mabel League is a softball league for lesbians, bisexual women, queer people, trans* people, and women allies in Vancouver, BC. The league has 19 teams and approximately 200 women participating. They are the largest Women’s D Division Fastpitch league in Western Canada. This partnership has generated interest from women who are interested in becoming active with our club, either through partnering in events or becoming members. This partnership may also lead to Mabel league members joining other clubs in the Lower Mainland and/or chartering a new club in Vancouver.
We have created a Friendship Link with a new club in Nairobi., Africa. We provide reusable Menstrual Hygiene products to Soroptimist International of Nairobi to be distributed to girls who have no access to menstrual products. To date 450 pairs of shoes and 255 feminine hygiene kits have been received in Kenya.
Slavery’s New Face: Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls – Slavery is a harsh reality for millions of people the world over who find themselves trapped in an exploitative and abusive system, bought and sold like objects, and treated with no dignity or human decency.
How extensive is slavery’s reach? Human rights groups estimate that anywhere between 12.3 million and 27 million people are enslaved in forced or bonded labor, child labor, sexual servitude, and involuntary servitude at any given time.
Slavery exists in a variety of permutations, but all forms of slavery share some common characteristics: slaves are forced to work; are owned or controlled by an “employer”; are dehumanized and treated as commodities; and are physically constrained and unable to move.
One type of slavery and exploitation that continues to proliferate at an alarming rate—and that has a particular relevance to women and girls—is sex trafficking/slavery. Western Canada Region has chosen to highlight this issue as a Region project. We have partnered with the Salvation Army to increase public awareness of the issue of Human Trafficking and have provided financial support to Deborah’s Gate, a shelter for victims of Human Trafficking.
For more information on Human Trafficking and Soroptimist initiatives to stop this crime, please follow the link: http://www.soroptimist.org/trafficking/trafficking.html
In 1994, Soroptimist International of the Americas made the prevention of domestic violence an organizational focus. Each year, on November 25 (the International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women), members participate in the Soroptimist Workplace Campaign to End Domestic Violence.
The campaign targets domestic abuse as a workplace concern. Domestic violence is a workplace issue because it affects both women and business, as most women work and they do not leave abuse behind when they leave their homes. Abusers often harass their partners at work. In worse case scenarios, abusers come to the workplace and threaten their partners and their co-workers. As business and professional women, Soroptimists are in a position to educate people in the workplace that women have the right to live free from violence.
Each year, Soroptimists distribute thousands of hotline cards, and hold lectures and events to raise awareness about domestic violence as a workplace concern. The campaign earned an Award of Excellence from the American Society of Association Executives and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Allies Against Violence Award.
The Road to Equality – UN Secretary General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, has stated that achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls the “unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.” The adoption of the 2030 Agenda pledged to ensure “no one will be left behind” and to “endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.”
The Road to Equality will focus on the role Soroptimist International can play in achieving gender equality as we develop capacity and raise awareness on human rights challenges that prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential. Child Marriage, FGM, Domestic Violence, Trafficking, Migration, and the rights of Older Women are some of the issues that our UN representatives and our SI team advocate for globally.
We are very excited to announce that Sharon Fisher, a Soroptimist International of the Langleys member, will assume the role of Soroptimist International President on January 1, 2020, and has chosen “The Road to Equality” as her SI President’s Appeal. The Road to Equality launches October 1, 2019. Watch for announcements and news at www.soroptimistinternational.org
Malaysia has more than 200,000 unemployed graduates and almost one million school dropouts and jobless young people under the age of 30 years.
Crime, trafficking, prostitution and drug related offences have reached alarming levels. SI Petaling Jaya competed with 300 NGOs in Malaysia to win the Berbudi Berganda: Social Impact Innovation Challenge with a Government grant of RM25,000 and Overall Grand Prize money of RM30,000 from Credit Suisse Bank.
The programme, which commenced in February 2015 and is aimed primarily at the 18-25 age group, has inspired and motivated young people to achieve mental, emotional and physical fitness and built confidence and self-esteem, values, work ethics and readiness for employment or to start a small business. Participants attained visible improvements in soft skills and core competencies not addressed by the Malaysian education system at either secondary or tertiary level. The programme matched graduates with potential employers and were placed in jobs that best fit their personality, goals, skills and capabilities.
To date, more than 120 young people have graduated from this programme, with 30% securing jobs within 2 months of graduation, 55% upskilled to take up tertiary education and 15% going into small business/ entrepreneurship.
The Soroptimist Foundation of Canada annually offers several $7,500 grants to female graduate students in Canada to assist them with university studies which will qualify them for careers which will improve the quality of women’s lives. Examples include but are not limited to: providing services, providing legal counselling and assistance, counselling mature women entering or re-entering the labour market, counselling women in crisis, counselling and training women for non-traditional employment, and positions in women’s centres.