Solidarity, by Soroptimists for Soroptimists. To help women and girls. Something I witnessed right from the very first days of the incredible invasion of Ukraine, that impacted many of us.
‘Sorores ad optimum’ (the best for women) has never been more meaningful than now and ‘We Stand Up for Women’ never more needed.
We put these words into action and, together with our team at headquarters and some outstanding members of my Board, we took four key steps:
- Released our first SIE Statement on the situation on 25th February
- Deployed resources from the Disaster Recovery Fund
The Disaster Recovery Fund is sponsored by very generous donors, amongst others the Dutch and Luxemburg Unions, with more Unions and Clubs announcing financial support in the pipeline. The fund has already delivered over EUR 75,000 to those project applications approved by the Board, with this number expected to continue to rise.
- Announced our first Project Matching relating to the warzone initiative on 28th February
Since then, we already have 10 such project initiatives, with more to come. Some are already close to reaching the financial targets they set.
Solidarity was the uplifting ‘vibe’ throughout all my meetings, with Board members, Union Presidents, Single Clubs, financials bodies, and institutions. Through this ‘Soroptimist Solidarity’ I saw the extreme resilience and power we, as an organisation, have.
Solidarity quickly became action on the ground, spreading across Unions and Clubs, setting up their own projects, leveraging their friendship links and networks, twinning, and accessing their own Disaster Relief Funds.
Solidarity was the motor of this first sprint: To act fast, in a targeted way, and with success.
The ‘Sorores ad optimum’ spirit now has to get us ready for the next challenge, the marathon.
In times of war, our SIE objectives, as stated in our Constitution, are severely threatened:
In these circumstances, we have gone from working to improve the status of women, to improving their status as refugees.
Women need support building a new life. This could be in new, unfamiliar surroundings, or even when returning to their former hometown, forever changed. Their new daily reality may include coping with losing family members; having to take up a new job; needing to learn a new language; searching for a new welcoming community – all while trying to overcome the trauma they have experienced. We have to stand up for them now. Supporting them to overcome their vulnerability and the precarious situation they are in is where our next ‘solidarity vibe’ has to be focused. This period will, undeniably, last longer. It will continue when the world might have assumed that the ‘war is over’. Let’s get ready for that!
These past weeks I have had to set aside emotions to become a crisis manager. This is not what I had in mind starting this Biennium, but neither had I in mind how resilient we can be when joining forces to stand up for women in war zones. Neither had I in mind, as I called it “we KNOW we can let’s SHOW we can and do it now”, that YOU, all of YOU would do this so massively.
Help me in this. Help one another in this.
Thank you Soroptimists!
SIE President 2021-2023
You, your club and union can support existing projects and our Disaster Recovery Fund by clicking below: