Other Programme Activities
DISASTER RELIEF FUND
Grants from the Disaster Relief Fund target the special needs of women and girls during and after disasters. They are given through a joint initiative of Soroptimist International of Europe (SIE) and Soroptimist International of the Americas (SIA).
Clubs and Unions from either region are eligible to apply for grants of up to € 15,000 to aid women and girls to recover from disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions... Most recently, the Disaster Relief Fund benefitted victims of the 2014 floods in the Balkans, Syrian refugees in camps in Turkey, and victims of typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
While the sudden nature of disasters often leads to the desire to offer immediate help, experience shows us that planning projects offering long term assistance are a more sustainable and impactful way of helping those affected by disasters.
Following the collapse of industrial reservoir in Hungary in 2010, a toxic red mudslide covered a number of villages, causing loss of life and destruction of property. Soroptimists from Budapest initiated a project to help women and girls affected by the disaster. They collaborated with the village authorities to establish an institution that would help women and girls rebuild their lives. A music school and a cultural centre were built in Devescer, giving children the opportunity to enjoy cultural activities and learn music. The centre also generated new jobs for women. Health-related workshops for parents also took place at the centre.
Soroptimists wishing to submit a project for a Disaster Grant should contact Headquarters at siehq(at)soroptimisteurope.org for more information on how to do so.
Through their Clubs and Unions, Soroptimists give out hundreds of scholarships to women and girls each year. In 2013 alone, more than 1,600 high school, university, further education, and vocational training scholarships were awarded by Clubs and Unions belonging to Soroptimist International of Europe.
In addition, Soroptimist International of Europe has a special Scholarship Fund through which it has been granting scholarships to deserving women continuously since 1968.
Our Scholarship Fund awards scholarships/grants to professional or business women who want to undertake further training or who are embarking on a career change. Scholarships/grants are awarded to Soroptimists and non-Soroptimists alike. Preference is given to professions and vocations in non-traditional fields for women and to candidates attending the last year of their studies or training courses.
The Scholarship Fund includes the Dr Noël Scholarship, established in memory of the founder of the first Soroptimist Club in Europe. The Dr Noël Scholarship is awarded to female medical doctors who specialising in plastic/reconstructive surgery.
ROSWITHA OTT FUND
The Soroptimist International of Europe Roswitha Ott Fund for Children with Special Need in Africa provides healthcare and education for children with special needs and children in need in Africa. It extends financial assistance to projects implemented in African countries within and beyond the geographical limits of Soroptimist International of Europe. In 2013, the Roswitha Ott benefitted six different projects in Benin, Ethiopia, Madagascar, and Mali.
EUROPEAN MENTORING PROGRAMME
Soroptimist International of Europe is collaborating with EAF (European Academy for Women in Politics and Business, Berlin) to organise seminars, workshops and mentoring partnerships that help to enhance women’s leadership potential and prepare young women to assume management positions. EAF provides professional trainers for an initial seminar weekend and Soroptimists take on the role of mentors to share with qualified young women what years of professional experience in management have taught them. The Programme successfully empowers mentees through an intergenerational exchange and strengthens their determination and willingness to assume leadership positions and assert themselves professionally.
This Mentoring Programme was first introduced in 2003 by the Soroptimist International Union of Germany and was designed to assist young women in their life and career planning. Because of its success, the project grew to include other Unions, and in 2010 the first European Mentoring Programme took place with participants from Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Sweden.
OPEN HEART - OPEN DOOR
The Open Heart-Open Door programme offers Soroptimists the chance to create and strengthen bonds of friendship worldwide by opening their homes to Soroptimists from other countries. The Open Heart-Open Door programme has, so far, seen the participation of hundreds of Soroptimists from almost 50 countries.