Winters Soroptimist going International

“The little work we are doing is touching many people” says Gianola

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soror (sister) and optima (best), and relies on charitable donations from the public, with members contributing time and financial support to community-based projects benefiting women and girls—especially those in difficult circumstances. The Soroptimists are notably involved in four programs. The first, “Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women” distributes over $2 million in education grants each year to 1,500 female primary household providers. This program aims to improve the education, skills, and employment prospects of women around the world. It has provided over $30 million since its inception in 1972. Major recipients are survivors of domestic violence, trafficking or sexual assault and have dealt with poverty, teen pregnancy and drug or alcohol addiction. Soroptimists International of Winters provides a $1000 cash award for costs associated with higher education, but local recipients are also eligible for 28 regional and three $10,000 finalist awards. The deadline for application is Thursday, Nov. 15. Applications are available by contacting Gianola by text or phone at 408-398-5237 or visiting LiveYourDream.org: an online community offering volunteer opportunities. Another successful Soroptimist initiative is the “Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls” program, which provides young women self-confidence and knowledge to achieve success in their future careers and personal lives. Its goal is to end cycles of poverty, violence and abuse, and it prioritizes working with young women in poverty, from troubled homes, in foster care, or who had children in their teens. The Soroptimist clubs work in partnership with girls in small groups or a conference setting to provide them with information and resources regarding career opportunities, goal-setting, overcoming obstacles, and coping with setbacks or failures. SIW is currently discussing partnerships with RISE and Wolfskill High School, and plans to involve community members as mentors, speakers and role models. SIW also provides High School Scholarships of $1000 each year to Winters and Wolfskill HS students. Because applications have been decreasing they are holding an application workshop next school year. Soroptimist clubs also support ventures supporting women and girls internationally. SI of Winters has chosen to engage goal4.org in Sega, Kenya, the organizations focus is to end child mortality and track the long-term impact of their support. According to the The Global Health Organization, globally 5.6 million children, under the age of five, died in 2016. More than half of deaths in children under age 5 are due to diseases that are preventable and treatable through simple, affordable interventions. Up to half of all deaths occur within the first 24 hours of life, and 75 percent occur in the first week. Sega is a cluster of 18 villages with a total population of 10,000  here, according to Gianola, the rate of child mortality is doubled. SIW is working with goal4.org to end child mortality by contributing to two programs empowering the women of Sega. The first is “Mother’s Education Program,” which provides mothers with health knowledge that can save their children’s lives. The second is “Safe Birth,” which provides supplies and expertise to local clinics, enabling them to provide a safe, clean place with a skilled technician where mothers can give birth and receive free tests. The Mothers Education program uses short engaging videos created by Global Health Media, and dubbed in Luo (the language predominantly used in Sega), which provide guidance to new mothers and basic skills that can save lives. “These videos illustrate prevention of some pretty hard concepts like germ theory and cholera,” says Gianola. “The little work we are doing is touching many people.” In addition to providing tax deductible charitable donations to programs and scholarships, Winters residents can help by donating smart phones capable of video conferencing such as FaceTime or Skype without Wi-Fi. These include the iPhone 5 or newer, and Androids with GSM (not DCMA) technology, preferably unlocked for international travel. Additionally, two laptops are needed and can be either windows or Mac. One will be used to run AutoCAD, so substantial memory and processing power are required, the other will be used by a goal4.org program manager for narrating video, accounting, and project management software. Go to https://globalhealthmedia.org/ to see videos: The story of Cholera, 10 Warning Signs in Newborns. If you would like additional information or to support the Soroptimists of Winters call 530-219-3950 for meeting information.  ]]>

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