Archive for December, 2008

Giving Back at Christmas

It is funny how everything seems to come together at Christmas time!

Newest SI DAF member, Cheri DeMenna was telling a friend Jane about her joining Soroptimist International. It turns out that her friend had a ‘conflicted’ background and she appreciates the work SI and similar organizations do.  Jane, who wanted to ‘give back’, asked Cheri if she would be able to help her by distributing some Avon product gift bags to women who may otherwise not have a gift on Christmas morning.  So Cheri emailed Sandy about where we could direct these.  Sandy first directed Cheri to Drummond House, a local women’s transitional home in Waterdown.  Executive Director Debbie Tigchelaar gratefully accepted 5 of these for their residents and also gave Cheri a tour of the facility.

The ladies of SI-DAF visit Interval House for a tour

The ladies of SI-DAF visit Interval House for a tour

The other place Sandy suggested was Interval House, a crisis shelter for abused women & their children, that serves our communities.  Just so happens that Sandy was needing to visit Clare Freeman, the executive director, with a donation of her own so they decided a visit & tour of that facility was in order.  They were joined by SI DAF member Lynda Switzer who just so happened to have a large number of ‘Franklin the Turtle’  children’s books that needed to be enjoyed by young readers. Clare treated us to a full tour of the facility along with some short informative video’s and we returned the favour by donating $500.00 in cash, 15 gift bags, large number of Franklin books and a number of stuffed animals!

December 24 2008 under Programs of Service, SI-DAF Events

SIA National Disaster Relief Fund

Recently, the board of directors of SIA approved three $20,000 disaster relief grants to help women and girls to rebuild their lives following disasters. The grants were given to SI/Cedar Rapids/Marion, USA, the Philippines Region, and SI/Kalibo, Philippines.

As a result of recent need, the SIA Disaster Relief Fund is dangerously low. Please help us remain responsive to the special needs of women and girls when the next natural or man-made disaster strikes. Send club or individual donations, earmarked Disaster Relief, to SIA Headquarters (SIAHQ). Find out more »

December 11 2008 under SI News

What’s New with PINK!

Soroptimist International of the Americas sent an email announcement today for the online magazine, PINK! This website is for career women to connect, express, learn and support one another. Find out more »

December 9 2008 under SI News

President’s Appeal

Soroptimist Appeal Restores Dignity to Women with Obstetric Fistula

Each year on December 10th (United Nations’ Human Rights Day), the Soroptimist International president asks all Soroptimists worldwide to contribute to a project that helps women living in extreme poverty. In 2007 almost £135,000 was raised to help fund the Desta Mender village in partnership with Hamlin Fistula Relief and Aid Fund for women with obstetric fistula.

This year’s appeal by Margaret Lobo, Restoring Dignity – Securing a Future, will extend the support provided last year to Ethiopian women suffering from this debilitating condition.

Obstetric fistula occurs as a result of several days of obstructed labor without timely medical intervention, a Caesarean section. The constant pressure of the baby’s head in the birth canal causes a fistula (hole) to form between the bladder and the vagina, and/or between the rectum and the vagina. The baby usually dies and the mother is left with urine and waste leaking from her body.

“Sadly, in Ethiopia, an obstetric fistula can be worse than death,” said Leigh Wintz, executive director of Soroptimist International of the Americas in Philadelphia. “The smell of constantly leaking body fluids results in young women, many of them girls, being rejected and outcast by their community. They are doomed to a life of shame and isolation. This is why our December 10th Appeal is so critical in helping women with this condition.”

An estimated 8,000 to 9,000 women in Ethiopia suffer with obstetric fistula each year and don’t have the money for fistula repair via surgery or the access to medical care that most women in developed nations have. At least 93 percent of fistulas can be repaired, but three percent are so badly damaged in childbirth, they cannot be healed.

Funds from the December 10th Appeal will help women who cannot be fully cured by providing ongoing medical care at the Desta Mender Village of the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In addition, the self-help rural village provides skills and vocational training to the women, encourages their independence and helps improve their morale and self-esteem. Find out more about the hospital and the positive outcomes these women are experiencing »

December 9 2008 under Programs of Service

Christmas Get Together

On Thursday December 4th, SI DAF member Pauline Hardcastle opened her home in Ancaster to our club members & guests for our Annual Christmas Dinner meeting. In attendance were 18 ladies including 7 guest: Bev & Sharon who were guests of Nancy, Alice who was a guest of Shirley M, Marilyn was a guest of Jane and Zoie who is Pauline’s daughter.

Also in attendance was Cathie Pead, our guest speaker who was there to bring us up to date on the YWCA’s capital campaign to build the new facility on the Hamilton Mountain. SI DAF has made a $40,000.00 commitment to the Hamilton YWCA for the child care facility that will provide affordable day care to working mothers.  We have completed half of that commitment to them, the other half will follow when construction is underway.

We held a condensed business meeting before dinner with the added highlight of inducting our newest member Cheri DeMenna of Waterdown. Cheri is a friend & co-worker of member Sandy Gray who is also from the Flamborough area. Following the business portion of the meeting we sat down to a delicious turkey dinner that was provided by Jane Riddell Catering. Amazingly Pauline seated everyone at a huge t-shaped dining table complete with linens, Christmas decorations and party crackers.

Thank you again to Pauline for being the hostess for our annual Christmas dinner in your beautiful home!

December 6 2008 under SI-DAF Events


Soroptimist International received a request from the United Nations to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are hoping to have a billion signatures and they are only at 35,321 as of today.

Please share this and help support our cause by signing up today! Here is the link:

2008 is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 60th anniversary. It’s time for a global conversation about human rights and the values that unite us. It can also be a time when each of us chooses to take human rights into our daily lives, individually and collectively.

Image courtesy of Franklin D Roosevelt Library

Image courtesy of Franklin D Roosevelt Library

“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.”
-Eleanor Roosevelt

December 1 2008 under SI News