Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December, it commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, the Assembly passed resolution 423 (V), inviting all States and interested organizations to observe 10 December of each year as Human Rights Day.
For Soroptimist International, December 10 also sees the launch of the 2015-2017 President’s Appeal.
Before we hear about the first three exciting projects chosen to launch the Appeal, lets hear from your International President, Yvonne Simpson.
"I am delighted to launch the SI President’s
Appeal ‘Educate To Lead: Nepal‘ on 10 December, the very day in 1948
when the UN General
Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Appeal addresses human rights issues that follow a disaster. The earthquakes
in Nepal were devastating – physically, geographically, psychologically, financially,
and economically. The resulting poverty has left women and girls more
vulnerable. Human traffickers prey on rural women and deceive them into losing
their freedom and human rights. Many have lost their livelihoods and need to
find a way to care for themselves and their families.
Women can be
change agents too – and it is imperative to have women in leadership positions
so they can empower their communities. Education is the key. Education empowers
women with new skills and new hope for economic independence. It provides the
confidence and ability to stand strong and be partners with men to lead the
future. The situation needs our long term commitment to make this difference.
I am thrilled that
already so many Soroptimists have pledged their support, raising funds and
awareness of the need to empower women and girls through education: Empower
them to move out of poverty, to move away from vulnerability, and to lead
towards a better life. The President’s Appeal has traditionally been for the
We have been most
fortunate that for the 2015 – 2017 SI President’s Appeal, sufficient funds have
been pledged already, so we are able to launch the appeal with three projects. These are sample
projects of what we hope to achieve. They include Soroptimist projects. They
represent the very start – with more funding we will be able to fund more
projects and thereby make a greater impact.
Declaration of Human Rights states it is a human right to be born free and equal in dignity and rights (Article 1). No one shall be held in slavery or servitude (Article 4). Everyone has the right to education (Article 26). Everyone has the right to work (Article 23).
The SI President’s Appeal 20156 – 2017 ‘Educate
to Lead: Nepal’ will educate, empower and enable women and girls to
overcome their adversity, stay safe and develop leadership skills that will in
turn benefit their communities.
The logo flower represents beauty and
fragility. It also represents full potential. This is achieved with care and
the right nourishment. Our Appeal offers the same hope for women and
girls in Nepal.
With your support we will make a difference.
Come, join us – Educate to Lead: Nepal”
News from Nepal indicates that conditions for women and girls have not improved. Life is extremely difficult. Essential supplies have been blocked at the border, preventing access to supplies for daily needs such as fuel and building materials to rebuild homes damaged in the earthquake. Disaster relief has not arrived in many rural villages, which means that women and girls continue to be at risk. With your help, the SI President’s Appeal will bring hope to some of these women and girls, through projects that increase access to education, allowing them to rebuild their lives.
*Please contact your own Federation directly to make donations to the Educate to Lead: Nepal Appeal
Introducing the first three projects to launch Educate to Lead: Nepal
Project 1 – Australian Himalayan Foundation
Following in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary, the Australian Himalayan Foundation is working to help the people of the Himalayas through improvements in health, education and conservation in Nepal. In partnership with REED Nepal we will work to improve educational outcomes in the Lower Solu Khumbu (Everest) region, a world away from the popular trekking trails.
Their TTQE (Teacher Training & Quality Education) Program includes support for Key Teacher workshops to fast track the most able teachers so they can train other teachers – creating a truly sustainable program. The key challenge facing education in rural Nepal is not building more schools but improving the quality of the education delivered, so girls are equipped with the kind of education that changes lives. SI Educate to Lead: Nepal will provide training for 100 teachers.
Teachers, local District Education Officers, government representatives and community stakeholders will also participate in gender sensitivity training, creating awareness across the region of the gender issues in their communities. Working with the entire community has been integral to their success.
The TTQE program will also extend their scholarship program, by providing 14 girls with vocational training aimed at creating long-term livelihood opportunities and economic independence. This training would be made available for girls at a high school level, either in school or who have dropped out, providing them skills in practical trades.
The Solu Khumbu area was identified as a priority emergency district after the second earthquake occurred close to the Everest region. The training and selection of students will commence immediately. We are looking forward to following their progress.
Project 2 – Removing Barriers to Education in Nepal
This is a Soroptimist project. SI Truckee Meadows in Reno, Nevada, became familiar with the needs in Nepal 15 years ago, after an inspiring presentation by Dr. Purna Subedi who came from Nepal to the US as a boy. He is the adopted son of a Soroptimist club member and still has family in the village of his birth. The club is so well known they are referred to fondly by the village elders as the “American Mothers”. The club refers to Thulipokhari as “our” village. Learning about the lack of educational opportunities for girls in Nepal, their initial goal was to build a dormitory and fund scholarships for girls to attend school. Girls were walking several hours each way to attend school. The dormitory allowed the girls to stay at school. Since then they have continued to fund improvements including clean cooking technology, solar generated electricity, computers, sanitary toilets and guidance in the development of a governing council to manage these changes. The 900 girls that have graduated from the program have gone on to influence their children and families in the village as well as raise the standard
of living for themselves.
With the Educate to Lead: Nepal grant, SI Truckee Meadows will remove the barriers to education for 20 girls when they move into the dormitory for 2 years to attend school. Room & board, tuition, books, supplies and uniforms will all be paid. A micro lending program will be available to them when they finish, allowing them to start a small business. Since the launch of the microcredit program the club has experienced a 100% repayment rate. The girls will be selected in December, 2015 for a class that will begin at the end of the first quarter.
The earthquake has been very difficult. Many homes have collapsed and the canvas provided to them is still being used as shelter. No funding has reached the village since the earthquake, so the club moved into action. Having direct contact with the village, the club was able to assess the immediate needs of food, blankets and shelter.
Photo: Earthquake damage
Project 3 – Tharu Women’s Project
The final project is also a Soroptimist club project from SI Oita-Midori, Japan Minami Region. Twenty years ago, the club was asked for help because the women in Tharu village were unjustly discriminated against as an indigenous minority. At the time over 85% of the women were illiterate. Many women and girls were being abducted by human traffickers. The club built a training center and began literacy classes, followed by other skills training to lead to income generating opportunities such as dress making and food preparation. Girls were offered scholarships for tuition and upon completion were offered micro credit loans. Now with 3 training centers, thousands of women have completed literacy courses.
With a grant from the Presidents Appeal, SI Oita-Midori will offer computer literacy classes to women and girls. They will purchase 20 computers and in the first 2 years train 80 women and 10 teachers to be able to use computers in their income generation. The training will continue over 5 years with a final goal of training 200 women.
The club visits this village every year and is in communication throughout the year. The next trip is scheduled for December 2015 a few short weeks away, so we will share high-lights from their visit. In particular they will deliver the computers and select the first class.
This is just a beginning, a sample of the change we can make in the lives of women and girls in Nepal through education. Once again our global network will work together to harness the collective power and generosity of Soroptimists by increasing educational resources and increasing the number of women and girls accessing education and leadership development.
These first 3 projects alone will provide access to education and livelihood for at least 200 women and girls. By meeting or exceeding the donations from previous appeals, we will increase access to education for more than 1,000 women and girls. How many depends on our fundraising success!
We are excited to be announcing the first projects and bringing you news from the ground in Nepal!
The more you give the more women and girls we can help in
Thank you in advance for your generous contributions.
*Information regarding the President’s Appeal will be posted as available
on the Soroptimist International website
www.soroptimistinternational.org, Federation websites and social media.
You can help by sharing information with as many clubs as possible and
posting information on social media sites.
Your President’s Appeal team is now in place
and committed to bring you updates, stories from our projects and ways
for you to be involved through 2017.
Chair/SI ADA – Sharon Fisher E:email@example.com
SIA – Cheri Fleming
SIE – Caroline Junier
SIGBI – Pam Allinson
SI SWP – Di Lockwood
SI Officers – President Yvonne Simpson/Treasurer Susanna Raccis
SI staff support includes:
Caroline Yates, Executive Assistant
Sarah Wilkin, Communications
GED Deborah Thomas & IDA Pat Black will support the team as ex-officio members
All contact information can be found in the document below. Please
contact any committee members if you have questions. We would also
like to hear your ideas for fundraising and stories of your successful
activities. All funds should be remitted to your Federation for onward
transmission to SI. We received an excellent response from our 1st
Request for Proposals and will add additional projects based upon funds
View and download a PDF of the first 3 projects and all contact details by clicking on the image above