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Soroptomists and challenges of service

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”—Mahatma Gandhi

We met the personalities of the Soroptomist International, a woman’s volunteer organization which boasts of the biggest number of clubs (more than 15,000) and  members worldwide. The Bulong Pulungan also witnessed the launching of the new SIPR Website.

Led by the Soroptomist International of the Philippine Region (A Foundation) Inc. governor Rosario “Cherry” Tumameng, the ladies from different member clubs came to the Bulong Pulungan in their snappy hand-woven bluish-lavander blazers made by indigenous tribes, all afire with  noble intentions and projects  to help transform the lives of women and girls in the country. They also aspire to have a unified voice in building strong and peaceful communities.

Soroptomists at the Bulong Pulungan media forum at Sofitel. From left (seated): Chit de la Cruz, Cora Manimbo, Public Awareness chair Malen Ang, Charito Planas, Gov.Cherry Tumaneng, Past Gov. Minda Garcia, Mencie Zuniga. Standing (from left) Marivic Vergel de Dios, Carmen Soingco, Ampy Araullo, Marivic Paras, Nenette Valdez, Laling Ordonez, Elvie de la Rosa, Thelma Ortiz, and Lourdes Javier. Third row, members of the Bulong Pulungan core group.(Manila Bulletin)

Soroptomists at the Bulong Pulungan media forum at Sofitel. From left (seated): Chit de la Cruz, Cora Manimbo, Public Awareness chair Malen Ang, Charito Planas, Gov.Cherry Tumaneng, Past Gov. Minda Garcia, Mencie Zuniga. Standing (from left) Marivic Vergel de Dios, Carmen Soingco, Ampy Araullo, Marivic Paras, Nenette Valdez, Laling Ordonez, Elvie de la Rosa, Thelma Ortiz, and Lourdes Javier. Third row, members of the Bulong Pulungan core group.(Manila Bulletin)

The four pillars of the SIP are Malen Ang, the dynamic chairperson of Public Awareness; Ampy Araullo, fundraising; Marivic Paras, membership and program. Malen also heads the fundraising three-day ballet at the CCP featuring the beloved “The Nutcracker” this Nov. 20 with vice-chair Ampy Araullo. The fourth pillar is for programs and headed by Elvie de la Rosa. Malen’s avowed goal is to make women professionals like them to be aware that they can uplift the lives of Filipinas by joining with them. “More hands, more service to others in implementing our projects,” Malen stressed.

We also met at the forum, 91-year-old past governor Asuncion Flores (still active in club affairs) and her daughter, Mitzi Flores Piad, who is president of SI of Lucena. Mitzi is also co-chair of events committee which Cora Manimbo heads, (also known as the Sunshine Commitee) with  members Vicky Magadia, Janette Lapus, and Nora Bautista.

Laling Ordonez, head of the Soroptomist Academy and I renewed acquaintances. Cora also told us of an exciting event, the United Nations Day celebration on Oct. 21 which will be held at the Aquino Center in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac City. This is hosted by the Soroptomist West Central District headed by Josie Andal Yu and governor elect Lydia Co. And on Dec. 4, Human Rights Day, an activity will be held at the AFP Commissioned Officers Hall with its theme, “Human Rights is Women’s Rights” with Manila Northeast District director Dr. Carmen Soingco.

Cora Manimbo adds that after Human Rights Day on Dec. 4, there will be a “Pasko sa Nayon” fellowship also at the same AFP hall with a rondalla and choral group singing contest among the clubs and districts.

Gov. Cherry stressed that Soroptimist is committed to investing in programs that have a sustainable effect of the lives of women and girls. They have the “Live Your Dreams Education and Training Awards” which assist women by giving them the resources to improve their education and enhance their resources and skills to live their dreams. Then for girls in secondary schools, they provide them access to professional role models and also education and resources through their “Dream It, Be It” program.

Cherry, the Soroptomist governor for 2016 to 2018 has challenged her members to fulfill her Biennium advocacy: “To educate and train women and girls for them to gain access to and conserve safe water.” She cited statistics on how scarce potable water is now all over the globe and will even be more precious in the years to come.

In the past 50 years of the Soroptomists here in the Philippines since being brought here by Mariquit Castelo, then a graduate student in California, the ladies have championed issues such as “Violence Against Women,” “Human Trafficking,” “Safe Sanitation,” “Displacement,” “Education,” and other relevant issues on women and girls.

Gov. Cherry looks forward to a lively, challenging and harmonious biennium and expressed the wish that Soroptomist be the choice of women looking for meaningful and fulfilling volunteer work. One project is singling out unsung women heroes.

 They just finished a project last September that fittingly was held this year in Davao, their joint PNP-Soroptomist Summit on Women in Policing. Their theme was “Enhancing the Role of Women for Change in Peace and Security Agenda” with Thelma Ortiz as chairperson of the National Biennial summit. The Soroptomists first initiated the idea of a women’s and children’s protection desk in police precincts. Happily, all police precincts now have such a desk.

PNP chief general Rolando de la Rosa and his policewomen welcomed the three-day summit with open arms. His women police force learned a lot with the Soroptomist mentors and trainers. A beauty pageant was even held during the summit. Malen Ang is confident that the club will have a successful year and win more members.

If you ladies want to join the club, contact any Soroptomist member in your area.