For 54 years, a dedicated group of women from Nelson have been helping to transform the lives of others – but they need more members to keep up their good work.
Soroptimists International Nelson aim to empower, educate and enable local women and girls.
They currently have 20 members, but with a steadily declining membership over the last 18 months, they are looking to boost their numbers.
“If we doubled our membership, that would be great,” says Carol Golding, the group’s newly-sworn-in president.
“Some members have been with us for nearly 40 years, but we need to keep up the momentum.”
They have been involved in a raft of projects around Nelson, including helping to establish the Young Parents’ School at Auckland Point School in 2013.
“We still tend to their gardens, cook food for the babies and donate resources,” Carol says.
They also help fund a $10,000 annual scholarship for the Cawthron Institute to help get women into education, as well as a successful kindergarten dental programme and the warmer homes project, which helps families with firewood, warm clothing and bedding.
They also raise funds to educate women in Nepal and have helped to build sanctuaries in Fiji for women in violence.
Last year alone they raised $17,000, with the majority of funds coming through catering, a ‘post-budget’ breakfast, making 250 Christmas puddings every year to sell and the odd Mitre 10 sausage sizzle.
They also maintain and organise the graduate gowns at NMIT as a way to boost funds.
Secretary Steph Smith says they have the view that “if you have strong women and girls, you have strong families”.
“We’re out helping those in need, and you get so much satisfaction from doing something positive for someone else. The friendship and mentorship you get is amazing – I’ve gained skills I never would have got anywhere else,” Steph says.
“If we can attract more members, we can grow even more.”
The group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at Nick Smith’s office from 6-8:30pm and anyone is welcome to come along.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a member, contact Barbara on 5481103 or email firstname.lastname@example.org