Soroptimist International

of Fort bragg, CA

** CLICK HERE FOR new sifb website **


President’s Appeal December 10 2008:
Restoring dignity

Our Partner

Hamlin Fistula Relief and Aid Fund, a registered charity dedicated to supporting the work of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital.

Our Aims

•To help those women with fistulas who cannot be completely cured and need ongoing medical care.

•To encourage independence and improve the morale and self-esteem of the permanent residents of the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital through the self-help rural village Desta Mender.

How the Project Will Work

Soroptimists will work in partnership with the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital who will apply Soroptimist donations to help fund the Desta Mender village. These donations will enable this vital work to continue and expand, restoring dignity and self-sufficiency to those women whose fistulas cannot be cured.

For more information see *President’s Appeal below


SIFB’s Identifying Project

Project Sanctuary is a private non-profit organization supported by state and local funds, United Way and contributions from individuals.  Serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Mendocino County, their Mission is to end domestic violence and sexual assault in our community.

SIFB association with PS began in 1996. After a year of research and member questioners we voted to have PS as our identifying project.  At that time two of our members went through five months of training to be certified as domestic violence counselors.  Two of our members have served on the Board of Directors.

Our continuing support of this agency recognizes the need to end violence against women and gives the staff and volunteers the moral support to continue the work they do.

For more information see **Project Sanctuary below

PROJECT INDEPENDENCE: Writing to Women, Survivors of War

Project Independence  is the Soroptimist quadrennial project, started in 2003, working in cooperation with Women for Women International.  This project will support 1,200 women over the four-year period in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Rwanda,100 women in each country, each of the four years.  These women will benefit from the direct aid, rights awareness education and vocational skills training to provide them with the skills they need to rebuild their lives after war.

A critical part of their experience is the opportunity to correspond through letters with women that support them.  Letters provide an emotional lifeline to a woman who may have otherwise lost everything. As a correspondent you will be asked to write at least four letters during the one year period of the group training.

If you sign up to be part of our next group you will receive a packet from SIA with information and a picture of your "sister" and instructions on how to correspond.  You will also receive via email a notice each month from Women for Women with a question of the month to help you decide what to write about if you need that kind of help.  I found that it was helpful.

This is such an easy thing for us to do and it is so important to the women receiving these letters.  My Rwandan sister, Jacqueline, lost her parents and husband in the genocide in 1994.  When she received my letter she wrote that she felt she had a family again, a sister.  This touched me so much, and all I did was write a one page letter telling about myself and my family.  Letters can be sent by mail or email and they mean so  much to the women receiving.


  1. *President’s Appeal December 10 2007:

  2. Restoring dignity

The Need

A fistula is an unnatural tear or hole between two organs. Obstructed labour can cause a fistula to the birth passage, bladder and sometimes the rectum. As a result a woman leaks urine constantly. Women suffering from fistula injuries experience rejection, separation, loneliness and shame. Whist fistula injuries have largely disappeared from developed nations, the rate remains high in developing countries where many women have little or no access to medical care, are malnourished and marry at a young age. It is estimated that 8,000 women, in Ethiopia alone, suffer obstetric fistulae each year.

The Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital was set up by Drs Catherine and Reg Hamlin in 1974 to address an overwhelming need. Approximately 1,400 patients are now being treated each year with a success rate of 93%. Most are able to return home within a few weeks. A number of women who cannot be completely cured and need ongoing medical care are supported in the Desta Mender Village, opened in 2002, where they also receive skills and vocational training. The Hospital relies on donations for the continuation and expansion of this vital work.

Project Location

Desta Mender Village, Ethiopia. This self-help village was built by the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital on a parcel of 21 hectares of rural land outside Addis which was donated by the Ethiopian Government in 2000. The village accommodates 100 women in 10 self-contained cottages, with a resident supervisor and two nursing staff.

More Information on the 2007 Appeal

•2007 December 10 President’s Appeal leaflet

•Press Release Template (coming shortly)

•Publicity Kit

More information on the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital is available at


**PROJECT SANCTUARY SIFB’s Identifying Project

The organization began in Ukiah in 1977 in response to the need for emergency shelter and support for women who were being abused by their husbands and living partners.  In 1980 a Rape Crisis Service was added to provide emergency response and counseling to survivors of sexual assault.  In 1991 an office was opened in Fort Bragg to serve the costal area from Westport to Gualala.  In 2001 an office was established on the South Coast and is currently in Point Arena.  The Fort Bragg office currently has 6 staff members and 17 active volunteers.


Services provided include a 24 hour crisis line, rape crisis services, emergency shelter on the coast , a live-in shelter in Ukiah, individual and group counseling, a legal advocate to help with filing papers and accompaniment to court, transportation to Ukiah when necessary, food, gas and clothing vouchers and community education.


Our first project on their behalf was something we all love to do.  We went shopping.  Sweat shirts and pants, tee shirts and underwear were purchased to be given to women who were victims of sexual assault.  When a woman is taken to the hospital for a SART (sexual assault response team) exam her clothes are taken for evidence so she literally “has nothing to wear”


Next we tackled something big.  We remodeled the garage into a meeting room.  We applied for and got a grant from SIA to help fund this project.  This extensive remodel was a “hands on” project.  We hung dry wall, did electrical wiring, made curtains and pillows and furnished the room with help from community donations.  This was the only room in the building that was wheel chair accessible at that time.


The next year an apartment attached to the building became available and we paid the rent for one year so this could be used for more offices and meeting rooms. 


We have helped with fundraising at the Phone-a-thons, purchased blinds for two rooms, provided money to pay for on site child care while Mom’s are in counseling sessions and for phone cards for women in transitional housing. Pagers were purchased for volunteers to use.  Many members participate in the annual Clothesline Project; a national project taking place each year in October that gives voice to the women who have been abused and have overcome their experience to become survivors, not victims.


Our Christmas Giving Tree provides gifts for women clients and their children.  On year a guitar was purchased for a woman who performed for a living after her abuser broke into her house and destroyed her instrument.  Our Saturday of Service project in 2004 was landscaping the yard at the PS office. 

from Jeanne Kinney

Soroptimist Projects



December 10th appeal

Every year on Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) the President of Soroptimist International selects a project that provides direct assistance to women in extreme need.

Past projects have aided refugees in camps in Malaysia, provided protection and help for women AIDS sufferers in Uganda and the Ukraine, scholarships for girls in Mongolia and Rwanda, vocational training programs and shelter for vulnerable women and children in Paraguay, education and nutrition for abandoned children in Vietnam, and malaria protection for pregnant women and young children in Benin, Africa.

from the Soroptimist International Site

President’s Appeal

December 10, 2007

Project Punjab:

Helping Girls Into School

Project Location are the Districts of Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh in Punjab Province, Pakistan

Our Partner is Oxfam GB, a charitable, British development, relief and campaigning organization that works with others to find lasting solutions to poverty and suffering around the world.

In Pakistan, one in four children between the ages of five and nine do not go to school. And in rural area, boys are three times more likely than girls to receive a primary education. As a result, literacy rates for women in some areas are as low as nine percent.

School infrastructure is inadequate. Approximately 16 percent of public schools have no electricity, almost 50 percent have no water, and 60 percent are without toilets. Well-trained teachers are in short supply, and most do not have access to modern learning resources or new teaching techniques.

Girls in Pakistan do not have equal access to education. Parents who can’t afford to send all of their children to school usually send the boys and keep the girls at home, since boys are seen as the future breadwinners for the family. For cultural reasons, parents often don’t want to send their daughters to schools lacking separate toilet facilities, separate water sources for hand washing, and “boundary walls” to provide adequate security and protection.

Our aim is to increase girls’ attendance and improve the quality of education in rural, impoverished areas of Punjab Province, Pakistan.

How the Project will work

Working with Oxfam, Soroptimists can help improve educational access and opportunity for more than 1,000 girls and 500 boys – and enhance the overall quality of primary education through teacher training, classroom rehabilitation, and community support and involvement:

40 teachers will be trained in women’s issues and child-friendly teaching techniques.

24 classrooms will be constructed and the physical environment of schools will be enhanced.

Awareness will be raised among educational organizations and the local community about the importance of equal access to education for boys and girls.

What your donation will provide:

GBP £1,000 (US $1,900) will buy essential furniture for 30 classrooms.

GBP £2,000 (US $3,800) will provide teacher training for 40 teachers.

GBP £5,000 (US $9,500) will pay for the construction/repair of 12 toilets and six water pumps.

GBP £8,000 (US $15,200) will provide a Resource Centre for Teachers.

from the Soroptimist International Site