The very first Quadrennial Project got underway in the Maldives in 1978, training 20 paramedics and providing 14 medical boats to carry health workers, medical drugs, supplies and equipment to the people in the remote Maldives atoll islands in the Indian Ocean. Also this year, SI of the South West Pacific Federation was born, with Mary Whitehead as Founding President.
1982 saw the first President’s December 10th Appeal, a bi-annual Appeal that still stands strong, bringing countless benefits to women and girls across the world. Catherine Salt chose the very first President’s Appeal project on the island of Pulau Bidong, Malaysia, helping refugee women and children. Pulau Bidong was the first asylum centre run in co-operation with UNHCR and provided housing, care and maintenance, including medical and social services for refugees awaiting re-settlement. Soroptimist International was granted Category 1 Consultative status (now General Consultative Status) with ECOSOC, in 1984.
Further reading: The History of Soroptimist International (1995) by Janet Haywood
Soroptimist International has a limited number of ‘The History of Soroptimist International’ by Janet Haywood (1995) available for purchase (English only). Please contact email@example.com for further details.
Special thanks to The Soroptimist Archives, Soroptimist International of the Americas, Philadelphia, PA, USA for all photographs.