WHAT IS SOROPTIMIST?
Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization for women who use their collective power to provide women and girls with the resources and opportunities they need to reach their full potential and live their dreams.
The name Soroptimist was coined from the Latin ‘soror’ meaning sister, and ‘optima’ meaning best. Soroptimist is perhaps best interpreted as 'best for women'. Soroptimists are women at their best, working to help other women to be their best.
HOW DID SOROPTIMIST START?
In 1921, the first Soroptimist club was founded in Oakland, California. The Founder President was Violet Richardson Ward - a name known throughout the world as one of the major awards given out by Soroptimist clubs – the Violet Richardson Award. In the first constitution, the purpose of the organization was "to foster the spirit of service as the basis of all worthy enterprises and to increase the efficiency by its members in the pursuit of their occupations by broadening their interest in the social, business, and civic affairs of the community through an association of women representing different occupations."
With the passing of time, the focus of the organization may have evolved but the desire to make a change in the community remained constant. Soroptimist International (SI) is divided into four Federations: SI of the Americas, SI of Europe, SI Great Britain and Ireland, and SI South West Pacific. Together, these four Federations have over 80,000 club members in 132 countries and territories.
Soroptimist International at the United Nations (UN)
Soroptimist International holds General Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). SI has official relations with several agencies and technical bodies, and has a network of permanent SI representatives at all of the major UN centers. SI works to ensure that the voices of women and girls around the world are included in international decision making and policy setting. SI’s experience with 'on the ground' projects all over the world drives the advocacy and lobbying efforts within the international community. SI representatives also serve as a link to this international community and inform other SI members of emerging issues, trends, and best practices.
SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL OF THE PHILIPPINES REGION (A FOUNDATION) INC. (SIPR)
The beginnings of Soroptimist in the Philippines can be traced to two women - Mariquita S. Castelo, a Filipina and Betty Beck Prosser, an American - who shared a commitment to serve others and uplift the status of women. The charismatic Mariquita S. Castelo invited 50 professional business women who were among her circle of friends to start a Soroptimist organization in the Philippines. She inspired these women to contribute their talent, time and resources in helping improve the lives of marginalized women and girls in local communities. This was the birth of Soroptimist International of the Philippines Region.
In a beautiful ceremony in April 1964, the Charter Members of SI Founder Manila were inducted by then SIA President Pluma Batten, and on May 6, 1966, the Officers were installed and the Club Charter was presented in a ceremony held at the Malacanang Palace with then First Lady Imelda R. Marcos as the guest of honor and speaker.
SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL OF CORDILLERA
Soroptimist International of Cordillera is one of four clubs that make up Soroptimist International of Northern Central Luzon District. SI Cordillera was chartered on April 27, 2014 and had since developed a unique relationship with two Adopted Schools, Lucban Elementary School and La Trinidad Central School. Working with these schools, we established our signature program, The Avid Readers Club Incentive Program. We not only provide funds that support this educational program, but also volunteer as facilitators for the duration of the 10-week program. To date, over 125 elementary students have benefited from this valuable program.
Soroptimist International of Cordillera is committed to a world where women and girls together achieve their individual and collective potential, realize aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities. Through collective efforts of volunteers, we enable women and girls to live their dreams, take control of their lives, and live according to their own values.
Our mission is to increase the opportunities for women and girls by providing programs leading to social and economic empowerment.
Soroptimist International of Cordillera is committed to:
Gender Equality: Women and girls live free from discrimination
Empowerment: Women and girls are free to act in their own best interest.
Education: Women and girls deserve to lead full and productive lives through access to education.
Diversity & Fellowship: Women from varied backgrounds and perspectives work together to improve the lives of women and girls.
Impact: Soroptimists will collectively provided a sustainable impact on the lives of women and girls.
Engagement: Members and supporters will find value through engagement with the Soroptimist mission.
Recognition: Soroptimist is recognized for its efforts to improve the lives of women and girls.
Philanthropy: Members and supporters of Soroptimist will financially support organization's programs.
Soroptimist International of the America's Cornerstone Program: LIVE YOUR DREAM AWARD (LYD)
The Women's Opportunity Award now called Live Your Dream Award was established in 1972. It is awarded to women with primary financial responsibility for the family, who aspire to improve their employment status and their family’s standard of living. These grants are solely for education for a degree or for a vocational training in order to enable women to work for better pay or do business, and be able to live their dreams.
Dream It Be It: Career Support for Girls
This global program helps girls grow up to be strong, successful, happy adults. Dream It, Be It targets girls in high school who face obstacles to their future success. It provides girls with access to professional role models, career education and the resources to live their dreams.
SIA PROJECTS THAT BENEFIT WOMEN AND GIRLS
Soroptimist Club Grants for Women and Girls
These grants provide funds of up to $20,000 to assist women and/or girls to prepare for or recover from disasters or acts of war. These grants can be used for projects administered by Soroptimist clubs or regions, or to assist organizations that specialize in disaster risk reduction or recovery. Clubs and regions are encouraged to develop projects in partnership with other local organizations. The project must focus on the specific needs of women and/or girls.
Soroptimist Disaster Recovery Fund
Although Soroptimist Disaster Grants can be used to provide immediate assistance needed by women and girls such as food, water, clothing, shelter and housing repairs, it can be change to develop an immediate project that specifically targets women and girls and their unique needs during times of disaster. Therefore, Soroptimist encourages clubs to consider developing longer-term recovery projects, including rebuilding businesses and community revitalization.
Soroptimist Club Grants for Women and Girls
These grants are to assist clubs in starting up or continuing projects in their communities that improve the lives of women and/or girls. Grants are awarded ranging from US$500 to US$10,000. Only Soroptimist clubs may apply for these grants.
Soroptimist Club Matching Project
The Soroptimist Club Matching Project will link two clubs together - a club that needs help with a project and a club that would like to supply the help. This project allows Soroptimist clubs to work together to confront the needs of women and girls in countries far away from their own.
Governor's Annual Awards
This annual award program recognizes clubs with highly successful projects that improve the lives of women and girls and promote Soroptimist as an organization with that mission. Only Soroptimist clubs may apply for the Governor’s Annual Award.
SIPR IDENTIFYING PROJECTS
This project serves as a stage for Soroptimist clubs to manage their impact projects. Established in 1981, this project has contributed to the impetus for Soroptimist growth in the Philippines through service to women and girls in the barangay, the smallest unit of government in the country. A sound working relationship with local officials and barangay women fosters cooperation, facilitates logistic arrangements and ensures the success of projects benefitting women and girls in the community. Projects focusing on basic education, women's health and family spacing, and livelihood projects are at the heart of this program.
Adopt a PNP Women's and Children's Desk
This project is an example of a strong GO-NGO partnership towards addressing the plight of women and children who are victims of abuse and violence. It is in line with the United Nation's program of cooperation in the field of human rights which is the foundation of justice and peace.
Since the project's inception in 1994, Soroptimist clubs in the Philippines have assisted in strengthening the WCPDs in various ways like donating of office supplies and equipment, providing free counseling and legal support, and giving stipends for policewomen to enable them to attend conferences on policing. SIPR also organized the Friends of PNP Foundation to ensure the success of our partnership with the Philippine National Police.
This project upholds not only the dignity of the women victims of abuse and violence, but also helps policewomen obtain the appropriate tools to carry out their jobs.
To realize the spirit of the Adopt-a-School Program Law (RA 8525), Soroptimist clubs introduce projects that would be instrumental in addressing the resource needs of the schools as well as providing students with programs that enhance the quality of the students’ learning.
SIPR ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
SIPR has 13 Districts headed by District Directors which supervises 84 clubs headed by Club Presidents.
FOUR PILLARS OF SUCCESS
- Membership is by invitation
- Members are women who stand for the Soroptimist vision and mission
- SIPR aims for increased participation in SIA programs
- Members develop and implement programs that help improve the lives of women and girls
- Our goal is for Soroptimist to be known nationwide through quad media tools
- Laurel Society in partnership with SIA
- Sampaguita Society in partnership with SIPR
- SIPR Annual Dream Raffle
- SI Cordillera Annual Fun Run