Soroptimist International of St. Vincent and the Grenadines recently held its virtual 34th Annual General Meeting. The following persons were elected to serve for the year 2021- 2022: President and Federation Councilor – Ikarmola La Borde; Vice President – Donnette O’Neal; Secretary – Josie-Ann Small; Treasurer – Christine Da Silva; Programme Action Chair – Shannon Durrant-Samuel; Development Officer – Lavina Gunn; Membership Officer – Keisha Fraser; and René M. Baptiste- IPP/SICN Representative.
Soroptimist International of St. Vincent and the Grenadines had a very active year despite the limitations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the La Soufriere eruptions. President Ikarmola Laborde’s report revealed that the club successfully hosted the award-winning program “Girls On Fire” during the 2020 summer, adapting it for residents of the Guadeloupe Home for Girls in Marriaqua. Library books were donated for Literacy Day, to the Sion Hill Primary School Library and masks given to van drivers and fisher-folk at the Kingstown Fish Market.
A fundraiser, ‘Taste of Christmas’ was held at the Farmer’s Market while the annual Christmas presentation was made to the female wards of the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. Additionally, ‘Love Box’ distribution to several homes for the elderly; the Annual Christmas parties at the Glebe Day Nursey and at the Helping Hands Centre at Montrose; care packages delivered to the female inmates at the Prisons were success stories. Gift vouchers for school uniforms and books were given to Secondary School students from disadvantaged areas to meet needs for the 2020-2021school year.
During the period November-December, the Comfort Station at Heritage Square was refurbished with support from BRAGSA. This facility is the only one of its kind, built by Soroptimist in 1991.
Following the eruption of La Soufriere, Soroptimist International of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has rendered assistance at shelters; delivering disaster relief supplies donated by local Soroptimists, Soroptimists sisters from the Caribbean, UK, Germany, France, Martinique and Guadeloupe: and to families in private homes, shelters, and other organisations such as the SVG Netball Association, Helping Hand Centre families, from friends of Soroptimists in UK and elsewhere, Freewinds Cruise Ship, and British Airways.
The Club engaged with its Caribbean sister clubs through the Soroptimist International Caribbean Network (SICN). Activities centered around establishing Anti- Human Trafficking Banners at Airports in the Caribbean and lobbying CARICOM for its Consultative Status and Observer Status at various Caribbean/CARICOM fora in keeping with the Civil Society Charter of CARICOM.
This year will mark 100 years since the inception of Soroptimism and the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Club has received international recognition through the distinguished service of Soroptimist Mrs. Annelle Thomas who was named by the Federation among its outstanding members over the 100 years of its standing, celebrating her for making a difference in the lives of women and girls.
The Club lost 2 active members: Nina Maloney and Zeitha Hadaway; but initiated 6 new members in May, 2021: La Fleur Quammie, Andrea Gaymes-Mohess, Kimberley Cambridge, Sabrina Murphy-Bascombe, Avyeng Murphy and Samantha Browne-Cordice.
For the 2021-2022, the Club would be engaged in programs geared towards Women’s Enterprise Empowerment with Women in agriculture in particular; Helping Women Behind Bars; Education; Youth Skills development along with its usual Annual programmes and activities.
Source : The Vincentian