“As we all continue to adjust to a new way of being, the true scale and far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to take shape. With a third of the world population currently on some form of a lockdown, a recent statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, noted that the sheer number of people now staying at home, meant increasing risks of what she named a ‘shadow pandemic’, namely violence against women; violence within the home.
Although very real concerns are ongoing for older women, frontline health care workers and the millions of refugees and migrants in camps and detention centres, our position as Soroptimists places us in a position of strength – not just because of the friendship and solidarity we are lucky to enjoy, being part of our global organisation, but also because of our ability and experience in supporting and empowering women, girls, and communities most in need. Please take care of one another, reach out and be kind during these difficult times. If we do this, we will be stronger going forward, when our presence, commitment and dedication will be so greatly needed. I am pleased to share this joint message with our Federation Presidents, as we often say – we are stronger together.”
Sharon Fisher, President, Soroptimist International.
“Dear Soroptimist Sisters,
Greetings from Soroptimist International of the Americas. I hope you and your family are safe and well during this challenging time.
Here in SIA, we have been working hard to keep our impact moving forward. We know women and girls are more vulnerable than ever, and we are doing everything possible to continue to serve them through our Dream Programs. Our program team has devised resources to help our members do just that.
We have started a campaign on our SIA Facebook page to lift spirits and help us cope in these difficult times. I encourage Soroptimists from all our federations to check it out and add to the inspiration with stories of your own.
Being a Soroptimist right now is very comforting. It’s a good feeling to be part of this worldwide community of friendship and support. We are all in this together, and we will all get through it together.
Looking forward to brighter days ahead.”
Tina Wei-Kang Pan, President, Soroptimist International of the Americas.
“In times of a Global Health Emergency we have to stay at home. For us home is a safe placer, but it is not the same for all women. Many are confined with their oppressors, with no escape possible.
We must advocate and take actions calling states to implement their legal obligations to shelter and protect women who experience domestic violence and are forced to live with their violent spouses. Women are at risk of poverty while the economy is shut down and after the virus, when it would have shrunk significantly.
Let’s look around and think how we can help others because ‘We Stand Up for Women’.”
Anna Wszelaczyńska, President, Soroptimist International of Europe.
“With all the tragic things that are happening in the world as a result of the coronavirus, now might seem like an unusual time to talk about being positive. Yet, staying positive is a core ingredient in the recipe for coping successfully in a crisis. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to value each other.
Members are volunteering to help in call centres, doing shopping for vulnerable neighbours, members who are health care professionals are at work, and there are so many more stories about how we are continuing to make a difference in others’ lives. Members are staying in touch with each other and still finding ways to improve the lives of women and girls whether that is through Advocacy, Service or Fundraising.
We will come out of this and perhaps we will understand, even more than we did, the importance of relationships and community.”
Isobel Smith, President, Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland.
“While the pandemic is impacting our daily routines, it is comforting to know that amid the uncertainty, there are still moments of strength and hope that showcase the resilience of Soroptimists, sharing and caring to help us get through this together. There are stories of Soroptimist clubs and members buying groceries, sewing masks and personal protection clothing for frontline workers, helping the elderly, the less abled and even strangers who are unable to leave their homes – beacons of hope, inspiring their local communities to come together.
Despite quarantines and social distancing, connections are still being made all around the world. Let it go viral as we spread love, hope and joy, be it through our cooking, music, art, yoga, meditation or education programmes online. Please continue to share your moments of care and kindness during this pandemic – heartwarming photos and inspiring videos that demonstrate our human connection. This is a unique time in which we can slow down, reflect, listen, and show gratitude towards one another. May we always look for the silver lining in times of duress, appreciate the goodness in people and despite the uncertainty, know that there is hope and resilience in the world.”
Anusha Santhirasthipam, President, Soroptimist International of the South West Pacific.