The Governors’ Meeting 2023 brought unexpected joy as the Soroptimist Club of Merate was announced as the recipient of a special prize of 1’000 € to acknowledge their outstanding service for the “Project Supporting the Women of Emergency’s Salam Centre of Khartoum, Sudan.” This honor serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the darkness that continues to engulf the people of Sudan in the aftermath of a forgotten war.



A Glimpse into Sudan’s Current Situation


Since April 15, 2023, Sudan has grappled with the devastating consequences of war, particularly in the areas of North Darfur and the capital, Khartoum. The Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery, fortunately located on the outskirts of Khartoum, emerged unscathed from the war’s destructive path. However, the children’s hospital in Nyala, on the west-southern border, fell victim to looting and destruction.


The conflict has significantly impacted the Salam Centre, leading to a decline in patients, especially women, who could reach the facility. Health workers, particularly women, faced compromised living conditions, forcing them to permanently relocate to the hospital, leaving their families behind.



The Resilience of Salam Centre’s Women

Dr. Suha Hassan, recipient of the Anna Bianchi Scholarship, now coordinates the Anticoagulant Therapy Clinic of the Salam Centre. Alongside her colleague Sohayda, she manages the challenging situation with professionalism, initiative, and self-sacrifice, focusing on the needs of women, the most vulnerable victims of war.


The Awarded Support Project


The SI Merate support project, recognised for its continuity, initially aimed at providing scholarships for healthcare professionals. They aimed to support the prevention of risks related to pregnancies in women undergoing anticoagulant therapy at the Salam Centre from across Sudan and other sub-Saharan African countries.

Due to current circumstances, the Soroptimists adapted their strategy allocating the prize money for the purchase of portable coagulometers. These devices are essential for monitoring anticoagulant therapy remotely, ensuring access to treatment for those in war zones or lacking resources for transportation to hospitals.


Dr. Sohayda Hussein Abdalla (left) and Dr. Suha Abdewahab Abdalla Hassan (right)


Addressing Urgent Needs and Protecting Women


Internet-based therapy management becomes crucial in preventing violence and rape. Since October 2023, 124 reported cases of rape have been documented, with estimates suggesting thousands more. Over four million Sudanese women are at risk of sexual violence, according to international organisations.


Commitment to Transparency


SI Merate pledges to keep Soroptimist International Europe informed of the Salam Centre’s Women’s Support Project progress. The entire prize amount will be utilised for coagulometers purchases, contributing to the continuity and success of its mission.


Dr. Suha Hassan and Dr. Nicoletta Erba in October 2022 during the evening organised by SI Club of Merate for the presentation of the “Anna Bianchi Scholarship” project


Gratitude and Acknowledgments


As Valeria De Micheli concludes her term as Club President, she extends her deepest appreciation to her club members, a special thanks to Giovanna Guercio, (SI Italy President 2021-2023), Paola Pizzaferri (SI Italy Programme Director 2021-2023), and Marinella Comi (SI Merate Programme Director 2021-2023) for their invaluable assistance and heartfelt salute to Eva Tea Milani (Assistant Programme Director) for her meticulous presentation of the project.


Above all, a sincere thanks go to the incredible individuals at the Salam Centre – Suha, Sohayda, Nicoletta Erba, and colleagues – for their commendable professionalism, self-sacrifice, and enthusiasm in the face of adversity.


Dr. Nicoletta Erba on the right with the nurses and operators of the Emergency Salam Center in Sudan


In the spirit of Soroptimist values, the Soroptimists of SI Merate remain committed to making a positive impact, supporting women, and fostering hope in the most challenging of circumstances. Together, they continue to make a difference in the lives of those who need it the most.


Valeria De Micheli

SI Club Merate President 2021-2023