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My Soroptimist Story

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Meet some of our wonderful members and read their Soroptimist stories here.

Christine Johnstone, SI Beenleigh

I’m a Soroptimist because…. My volunteer work is valued by the women and girls who benefit from the projects I help implement. 

The friendships and kindness of fellow Soroptimists is a gift which I value, sharing the laughter and the conversations make for good times.

Being a member of a global organisation such as Soroptimists keeps me abreast of current issues and provides opportunities to assist women and girls.

Yvonne Simpson, SI Westland

I have been privileged to have Soroptimist sisters around the world. It is humbling to meet with Soroptimists who, because they espouse the same values, have seamlessly become close friends and sisters to me. 

I remember people before places and most of those who are so very close have also welcomed me into their homes. It might be to stay, it might be for an evening, it might be metaphorical. Each gave me a gift; they may not have been aware of the gift, but they were significant and meaningful to me at the time. 

  • I am grateful to Asha, Dorothy, Alice and Rose from Kenya who shared so generously.

  • GianCarla is from Venice. Her mantra is “My home is your home.”  and it truly was. It was a refuge from a whirlwind time as international president. Katarzyna from Gdansk, Poland, shared her home and family. It was like we had known each other all our lives.

  • Rhonda, from Germany, offered unconditional hospitality. “This room is yours”, she told me. I learned that crying for joy was because “I live near the water”. Rhonda and Pia, from Denmark, shared their expertise in a Leadership Academy. Pia empowered us to sing. It enabled me to breathe, drop old messages of failure, and sing anyway. Batia, from Israel, brought healing and peace.

  • RoseMary, Canada, offered the connection with her former club, enabling a young Scholarship recipient from Kosovo to have a home. Dawn Marie, California, reminded me that joy and generosity, colour and a positive philosophy were great energisers.

  • Pat, from Edinburgh, gifted me with her thoughtfulness and depth of understanding of international issues. A woman of great intellect and yet human in her kindness. Kate from Crewe, England, gave me unconditional friendship. We met on a study tour to Bosnia, shared a room and talked into the wee hours about what we had seen and experienced together.

  • Robyn, from Perth and Jenny from Port Pirie are simply kind and caring friends, who welcomed all my “dumb” questions, never judged me and so lifted me up. 

  • There are so many more……a book of names from New Zealand and Westland.

I count my blessings that these women have been in my life and added texture, colour, insight and depth. A well known Māori Proverb sums it up: He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. Translates to What is the most important thing in the world? It is the people, it is the people, it is the people. Thank you, Soroptimist sisters, for being “my people”.

Anthea Penny, SI North Cantebury

I’m a Soroptimist because…. My values are aligned to the Soroptimist Mission where I can give back to help other women and girls in the community while enjoying the friendship and fellowship of the  other members.

Being new to a district in retirement I joined the local Soroptimist club which has enriched my life enormously.  Meeting, sharing and working together with other members has meant the development of new friends, new experiences and new opportunities.

Working together on projects has been an extremely valuable and worthwhile experience not only personally but for the women and girls in our community that we support. I have felt  involved and a sense of collective pride in the outcomes that our Club  has managed to achieve while at the same time I have learnt new skills and enjoyed working with my fellow members.

Christiane Kitchakarn, SI Bangkok

I’m a Soroptimist because…. We support, we celebrate, we empower and we enable women around the world. Soroptimist gives the opportunity for likeminded women to meet and empower each other to support the community we live in. We become a sisterhood across borders and language barriers. Soroptimist enables us to provide support to the community which the community needs, there are no limitations in what we can do and what we can get involved in, in order to enable, empower and educate women and girls.

Dr Donnell Davis, SI Moreton North 

I'm a Soroptimist because.... I found my tribe. During my working life, my educational life, my blended family commitments -now with grandchildren, and my personal ambition to be applying myself to something meaningful, I needed to belong with like-minded people. 

One of the leadership and eldership aspects in life is to enjoy where you are and make the most of people you work with - including nurturing their potential. But that can be exhausting if you are working with difficult people in complex projects to conquer wicked problems. How do I renew my energy? 

In Soroptimist I can enjoy the women from diverse backgrounds and interests who share the same values of fairness, compassion and intelligence. I have some lasting friendships from my time in Soroptimist International, internationally and locally:

  • Locally, I am a member of SI Moreton North about an hour's drive from me. However, I am part of an 8 club region and I enjoy the diversity and humour of many of the members of these clubs in South Queensland.
  • At the UN Habitat Governing Councils, we organised womens meetings every morning to share outcomes of the day before and plan our moves for the coming day's agenda.  Soroptimists from Brazil, Bangladesh and the Netherlands were in my corner. Habitat is about the right to shelter and this UN program was always feminist because "woman is where the hearth is/ home is" and our first Secretary General was Dr Anna Tibaijuka who I worked with for more than a decade. Now we talk about sustainable communities and regenerative cities. 
  • During the UNODC Vienna event where I spoke on femicide, the highest impact was from a typhoon disaster in 2 hours where 72% of the deaths being girls and women. On one day in France, more people died of heatstroke than in the twin-towers terrorirsm. So my concern for urban design and climate solutions were inextricably linked. Internationally, Climate became the greatest killer after gangs, unsafe transport systems, conflict zones and disease.   This was a shock for people who only wanted to think about domestic violence. I was supported by Soroptmists.  
  • I am adamant that women should be represented properly in decision-making systems - government, corporate, professional bodies, Universities, community organisations.  Therefore women need to be in Parliament House, Senate, Boardrooms, Industry Reforms, Professional Societies, Advisory Bodies, Commissions of Inquiry, and be a voice for the voiceless or vulnerable. 
  • Sorptimist provided scholarships for girls, open doors for older women, and second-chance education for young mothers in order that all can develop and realise their potential.  

Soroptimist International links me with like-valued friends, helps provide meaning in my retirement, allows me to nurture younger women so they can be more effective than me, and advances progress on the most ugly inequalities in urban climate governance by having more women designing our safer common future.   

I think I have found my tribe. 

Ninjmaa Orgodol, SI Darkhan

I’m a Soroptimist because, We are global voice for woman and girls. Soroptimists are supporting projects, organizing events, working together and being friendly can lead to real friendship in local, regional and word level. We create the present and future happiness together with our sisters with same goals.

SISEAP Membership

Soroptimist International is a global movement of women, with members belonging to more than 3,000 clubs in 126 countries/territories, spread over 5 Federations