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Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia

Congratulations to Puan Sri Siew Yong on her election as SISWP President-Elect


OK tak OK -SI Ipoh Page 15

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President’s Message

Time has indeed flown by so fast! We are at the second issue of eSUARA and I am at the last month of my two-year Presidency. At this point in time, clubs are busy with AGMs and election of new position holders. Heartiest Congratulations to the new office bearers. Currently, Soroptimists throughout the world are being affected by natural disasters in one way or another. Christchurch experienced an earthquake in September 2010 and again in February this year. At the home front, the worst floods hit the north region of Malaysia, Kedah and estimated a tremendous loss of lives. Clubs donated generously in various forms to the devastated people. With constant occurrence of natural disasters, I suggest that SIROM sets up a Disaster Fund to promptly address the immediate needs of the victims and to rehabilitate them once the worst is over. This would be discussed at the next Council Meeting. To date, SIROM has 212 members and all clubs have submitted their dues to the Federation and SIROM. The recent increase in capitation fees to AUS 91.95 has deterred membership recruitment. There will be a consolidation exercise especially for clubs with few members, however, it is promising to note that SI Shah Alam had inducted 7 vibrant, young members at their February meeting. We hope that new members will rope in more of their friends as Soroptimists. There is hope also that we will be successful

last visit on 26/2/2011 firmed up all details and SI Ipoh members are all ready for a big delegation from all clubs in Malaysia. My heartiest congratulations go to SI Ipoh members for their innovative ideas and enthusiasm for this Conference. Ladies, let us show our appreciation by turning up in full force and participating in the various events.

with the charter of SI Kuching and SI Kota Kinabalu this year leading to an increase in membership. The 9th SIROM Biennial Conference will be held in Ipoh from 18th to 20th March 2011. On 13/8/2010 both the organizing Chair Joanne Yeoh and I visited Impiana Hotel in Ipoh to determine the venue and held discussion with the various authorities. The

A very attractive Sisterhood Tour package, which included visits to historical Malacca and the Mulu Caves in Sarawak, was planned to coincide with the SIROM Conference. The information was published in SISWP Bulletin and uploaded onto the SIROM website. Unfortunately it did not receive much response from Soroptimists around the 4 Federations due to the proximity to the SI Convention in Montreal in July. There have been important developments in the Soroptimist world at the home and International front in 2010. SIROM organised 1 training session before the last AGM and 2 pre Council Meeting Training sessions for members this term.

On 27th Mar 2010, Jessika Luther-Froiland, SI Bangsar member, gave a talk on Human Trafficking, giving members an idea how prevalent this is in Malaysia. Extension Convenor, Beh Suat Pheng gave a briefing and power-point presentation on Recruitment and Extension Strategies with equal emphasis on recruitment and retention of members. This was followed with a lively Q&A session. Outgoing Constitution Convenor Dhamayanthi rounded up the session with a briefing on the SIROM Constitution. On 25/9/2010, SIROM Programme UN/ Liaison, Nora Lam held Training workshop on Projects & Programmes. It was an interactive workshop with emphasis on Programme Focus Reports: Where to look for, online format and Hard copy format. Best Practice criteria were also included in this session. Case Study and 2 Break-up sessions got full participation from members. This workshop was well represented by all the clubs in Malaysia. On 11/12 /2010, SIKL President Shanti Abishegam held a workshop on Strategic PR Training. This was also an interactive session with Q& A on participants’ perception of What is PR? She dealt with Strategic PR Planning, PR tools and Soroptimist branding. Participants in groups worked out their strategic planning. Amy D’ Cruz, marketing Manager of Bernama TV, who was present gave her input as well. On the whole it was an eye-opener for many who attended the workshop. On the social front, SI Friendship Day Dinner held on 3/10/10 was a huge success with attendance of about 40 members from clubs especially in the Klang Valley. We had a visitor from SI Caracas, Dr. Raiza Malhotra, who entertained us with a Spanish song. Other entertainment included songs and music by members of SIKL and a comedy kit by SI Seremban. There were further sharing, bonding and networking opportunities at each Council Meeting throughout the year during the lunch break when members attended workshop sessions in the morning, followed by Council Meetings after lunch.

An EGM was held to approve the amendments made to the 2008 SIROM Constitution. The amendments also incorporated the changes made at the Conference of Clubs held in the Gold Coast in 2010. This document is currently with the Registrar of Societies, awaiting approval. Another EGM was held where members approved the setting up of the SIROM Foundation (Yayasan Soroptimist Malaysia). The Board of Trustees and Office Bearers were elected at this EGM. All the necessary documents have been submitted to the Home Ministry (BHEUU). Once approved, the Soroptimist Foundation of Malaysia will be launched this year. I’d like to convey my sincere appreciation to the Task Force Chair Joanne Fernandez and her team for their persistence and untiring work for the Foundation. Our clubs have done well not only in projects but in getting premises for their activities. SI Penang had raised funds to establish their own office whilst SI Seremban had acquired space for SI Seremban Women’s Support Centre, working together with a Shelter Home for Abused Women And Children. SI Bangsar had acquired from the developer of Bangsar South, Suria Bangsar South, a center to facilitate activities like cooking classes, handicraft and counselling sessions for disadvantaged women, and language and tuition classes for girls. SIROM is in dire need of a permanent venue for meetings/storage/talks etc. We did look into acquiring vacant government premises but had to abandon the idea due to problems of distance and maintenance. I hope that we will be able to raise funds for permanent premises in the coming year.

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia

The publication of 2000 copies of a SIROM brochure was a significant achievement for SIROM. The brochure became an effective tool for marketing SI. Each club received 150 copies. Clubs have utilized these at their fund raising dinners/Anniversaries/ membership recruitment etc. More queries on Soroptimism have resulted from this brochure as we distribute them to friends at various social functions we attend. The year 2010 saw the collaboration of SIROM with Persatuan Pandu Puteri Malaysia (PPPM), the Malaysian Girl Guides Association, in the hope of working on joint projects. On 31/10/10, I met up with Chief Commissioner and Ranger Commissioners from the region together with National Representative Dhamayanthi. We gave a presentation on Soroptimist International and the many projects carried out by clubs in the region. Our presentation convinced the Persatuan Pandu Puteri Malaysia (PPPM) with similar objectives, both organizations could work together for mutual benefit. PPPM has the women power we desperately need to serve our community better, whilst we could impart our professional expertise. The result of this collaboration was the invitation for Soroptimists to participate in the recent Girl Guide Summit in February. Dato’ Normah Aris of SI Bangsar spoke on Family values to the participants at the Summit whilst Normah Noor of SI Shah Alam took the role of moderator for a panel session on ‘Empowering Women and Gender Equality’. Both sessions were well received by the participants.

This year is special for SI in Malaysia. We are 20 years in existence and shall be celebrating this year with activities throughout the year. We are geared to grow from strength to strength as committed Soroptimists working through projects addressing the 4 goals of Equality and Equity, Living in Safe and Healthy environments, Having access to Education and Having leadership and practical skills. Again Malaysian clubs have won Best Practice Awards for their projects. Malaysia will host the SISWP Conference of Clubs in 2014. Malaysia has bid for the 2019 world conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur. If we succeed, it would be a great achievement for Malaysia. SI’s Long Term Plan on Education and Leadership would see Soroptimists all over the world working on this theme. This will be the first time SI has embarked on a coordinated effort to promote SI through a common theme. There would be further discussion on this at the Montreal Convention this July. SI Members in Malaysia should try their best to attend this World Convention to gain more knowledge and to see the big picture for yourself. Soroptimists in Malaysia have progressed to hold positions at international level as well. Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam was elected President-Elect for SISWP at the SISWP Conference of Clubs held in the Gold Coast last April. Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam will serve as Assistant International Programme Director for the 2011-13 bienniums at the SI Convention in Montreal in July this year. Well Done Anusha!


As I approach the end of my Presidency, I am only too glad to note that after a year of constant communication with Registrar of Societies (ROS), registration of SI Sentul was finally been approved on 23/2/2011. This could not have come at a better time. Having been chartered at the start of my term it is satisfying that now SI Sentul can function as a legal club in Malaysia. My heartfelt thanks to 2009/2011 EXCO for their unfailing support and cooperation extended to me throughout my 2 year term. I take with me memories of your friendship and understanding, the tears and laughter and above all your commitment to duty. Together we held SIROM firm and united, a force to be reckoned with. I am confident you would give the same support to my successor. To all Past and current Club Presidents I say a big Thank You for your excellent work at club level; to the new Presidents, welcome aboard. To my successor, Joanne Yeoh, it had been a memorable experience for me to have been fully involved in organizing the 9th SIROM Biennial Conference together with you. I share the joy of achievement with you and when I hand the chain of office to you on 19th March, I leave with confidence that you would take up from where I left with an able, supportive EXCO for the next two years. This smooth transition would enable you to accomplish more for SIROM especially this year as we celebrate our 20th birthday.

Thank You and God Bless.

Message from the Editor Dear SI sisters,

This second issue of e-SUARA is published as we approach our AGM of 2011. Thank you for all your contributions despite the busy festive season just passed, to ensure that each Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia (SIROM) club’s good works are highlighted and shared! Thank you once again to SIROM President Datin Indira for her invaluable support with this issue! Our heartiest congratulations to Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam in her new post as President-Elect for SISWP! We are so very proud of her achievement. We would also like to extend our congratulations to Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam on her appointment as Assistant International Programme Director, 2011 – 2013.

Much gratitude again to Noor Laila Hj. Othman, affectionately known as Ella, of SI Bangsar, who is the MD of Penumbra Communications, for her assistance in the beautiful design of this e-SUARA!

As always, I look forward to the next issue of e-SUARA, so send in your articles and photos! Yours in Soroptimism,

Sharon Saw

Dates for your diary SIROM 9th Biennial Conference 2011 Friday 18 March-Sunday 20 March 2011 Impiana Hotel, Ipoh 19th Soroptimist International Convention in Montréal, Québec, Canada July 10-14, 2011

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia


Congratulations to Puan Sri Siew Yong on her election as SISWP President-Elect

Soroptimist , a member of m ga lin na na G -Elect at Yong elected President Puan Sri Siew as w , ub cl ya Ja 10. Petaling st on 17th April 20 oa C d International (SI) ol G e th at Clubs 2010 nium. the Conference of e 2012-2014 bien th in nt de si re P e as She will take offic alaysia SI Region of M of nt de si re P a formerly ional Rep of Siew Yong was erly the SI Nat rm fo d an ) 07 20 ted Deputy (SIROM) (2005recently been elec so al s ha he S 10). Malaysia (2008-20 n. SIROM Foundatio e th of n so er irp ha C business in anages her own m d an ns ow 19 years in ently from a career of Siew Yong curr g in tir re r te af , ty has proper munications. She om C health, travel and up ro G of d as the Hea sian Tobacco Malaysia Airlines anager of Malay M ns io at el R lic Pub o Group, for also worked as American Tobacc h is rit B of rt pa is a Company, which 7 years. agement and Institute of Man ’s en om W e th Yayasan e of n Sejahtera and She is a Truste sa ya Ya of es te nt Old of Trus ernadette’s Conve B t sits on the Board S e th of n ro d is a Pat the University Nanyang Press an ics graduate from m no co E an is he S Girls Association. of Malaya.

A Golden Opportunity for SI Clubs to Promote Education & Leadership, Celebrate & remain Inspired – Dato’ Anusha Santhirasthipam, SI Petaling Jaya

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia

“Educate a woman and you educate a community” is a well-worn phrase. Yet, it is one that resonates with us Soroptimists. And so, it is not surprising that Soroptimist clubs all over the world have selected Education and Leadership as the long term theme. To add further impetus to this mission, the SI Programme implementation model chosen by the SI Board is Celebration of club work, supported by a dynamic advocacy and awareness campaign. Fortuitously, the SISWP Biennium 20102012 Theme is “Educate & Celebrate”. Clubs in Malaysia are already very familiar with the theme of education and some clubs have won several Best Practice Awards from SISWP and SI for educational projects, including those involving awareness and advocacy. We have many prominent Malaysian educationists among founding members of Malaysian SI clubs, some leaving wonderful legacies of programme work during their tenure as SIROM Presidents. So many Malaysian Soroptimists have worked tirelessly to ensure that SI clubs’ and region programmes to make a lasting difference in our communities. What a powerful expert resource pool and professional network we have as Soroptimists! This surely is our strongest asset. I am truly humbled and enriched by having worked alongside many of you highly experienced and talented Soroptimists in Malaysia. You are my daily inspiration and your legacy is our cause for celebration!

As food for thought, I would like to share with you some energising questions I often ask myself. I would gladly welcome your answers, my Malaysian Soroptimist sisters. Q1. What more must SI clubs do to further upscale and encourage replication of their award-winning or “secret formula best seller” programmes? What support do SI clubs need from their Region, Federation and SI? Q2. How can SI clubs attract, retain and reinvigorate members using SI programme work as the “magnet”? What materials, events and methods are available to make this work for us? Q3. What sort of information, skills development and communication channels do SI club members need to be at the frontier of SI Programme work? Q4. How would SI clubs and members like to be recognised, rewarded and celebrate success? Q5. What does it take to prepare SI members to be Ambassadors and Advocates of SI Programme work to engage and build relationships with our stakeholders, i.e. Government policymakers, business leaders, community leaders and other women-friendly organisations.


In 2010 alone, SI clubs reported 2,300 projects which directly benefitted 284,112 women and girls and with USD$3 million raised by SI clubs. This is a great source of inspiration during these increasingly challenging times. Much of the developed world is in deep recession and many parts of the world are either devastated by natural disasters or besieged by civil strife and instability. All these recent events have seriously affected world food supply, homes and jobs of families (including many Soroptimists) in so many countries. As Malaysians, we are rather more fortunate. We are a caring society with big warm hearts and a mostly celebratory mindset (we have more than enough festivals all-year round to keep us reasonably upbeat!) As Soroptimists, we have more reasons to celebrate than most. We are women at our best, and we are Best for Women.

Visit of SI President Hanne Jensbo to Malaysia by Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam “Action Speaks Louder than Words” – President Hanne Jensbo

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia

It was certainly an action-packed programme for President Hanne’s first visit to Malaysia to officially present the SI Best Practice Award to SI Penang’s Blossom Project, under the objective, “Eliminate poverty and gender discrimination through ensuring women’s full social and economic rights”.

(WAO) and Empower for Change. The interaction and exchange of information and experiences were enriching for all who attended. President Hanne also took the opportunity to speak about SI and helped to raise the profile of our organisation a notch higher.

Hanne, accompanied by Siew Yong Within her hectic schedule of her 3-day had a private lunch with Zainah Anwar, visit, President Hanne was accompanied Founder and Director of Sisters in Islam by SISWP President-Elect, Puan Sri Siew and Project Director of Musawah, (the Yong, SIROM President, Datin Indira global movement for equality and justice Naidu, and National Rep Dhamayanthi in a Muslim family). Zainah was her to pay a courtesy call on Dato’ Seri usual engaging, passionate self on her Sharizat Abdul Jalil, Malaysian Minister pet subject of equality for the Muslim of Women, Family and Community women and family. Hanne certainly left Development. The visit was held in a with a better understanding and a new very cordial and friendly atmosphere. perspective on the subject on women’s President Hanne found the Minister issues from the Islamic standpoint. very articulate and engaging as well as down-to-earth, not something she Hanne also made a visit to the WIM was expecting. With the Minister was building and was briefed by its CEO and the Deputy Secretary General (Policy), Co-Founder, Dato’ Dr Nellie Tan-Wong Dato’ Dr Noorul Ainur, Director-General on its work for women. In between the of Women Development Department, hectic schedule, Hanne found time to Puan Wan Hasmah B Wan Mohd and be interviewed for a feature article in the Private Secretary and the Private “Inspire” (WIM magazine) and also in Secretary of the Minister, Dato’ Roziyah the New Straits Times. Md Yusoff who turned out to be fluent in Danish. In KL, Hanne had a quick tour of KL city, ending at the Twin Towers where SIROM also hosted a lunch for a group she attended a dinner with about 30 SI of women NGO leaders from the UN members at the Petroleum club on the Representative office, Women’s Institute 42nd Floor. of Management (WIM), National Council of Women’s Organisation (NCWO), The highlight of the visit was to Penang All Women’s Action Society Malaysia to present the SI Best Practice Award to (AWAM), Women’s Aid Organisation SI Penang for the Blossom Project. This


was held a community centre where she met a few of the successful beneficiaries of the project. During the hectic 1 ½ days in Penang, she managed to visit the Peranakan Museum, take in a short drive to Feringgi Beach and met with SI Penang ladies for a sumptuous dinner at Mansion 32, an old Heritage building, as well as a taste of Penang Nyonya Food for lunch. Hanne summed up her visit saying the most impactful part was to be able to meet with members of SI during dinner at the Twin Towers in KL and a grand heritage mansion in Penang and the ladies touched by the Blossom Project as well as discussing common issues with NGO women leaders, who are all trying to make a difference to women’s and girls’ lives. Of course, the food, sights and smells of KL and Penang are all memories she will also remember fondly.

President’s walkabout

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia


Helping Homes and a Hospital - SI Ampang SI Ampang has helped a ward at the KL General Hospital, as well as various homes for children and single mothers whenever there has been a need for it. Here are some of the community service projects undertaken by SI Ampang.

SI Ampang has been sponsoring Ward KK3 in KLGH as one of their long term projects. They have sponsored 10 plasma television sets, Astro decoders and 1 Suction Vacuum regulator and 2 Suction units for removal of phlegm. SI Ampang has sponsored an early Christmas party for the kids last year and is seeking sponsorship for a Pulseometer, 2 beds and two more suction units. Shelter Home 2 – This home is for teenage girls and is located in Taman OUG. There are 14 school- going teenagers aged from 13 – 19 years. These girls are from single parents and have been abused, abandoned or neglected. SI Ampang would like to sponsor tutors in Bahasa Malaysia, Mathematics, and English for this home. This home is run by Miss Anne. Rumah Nur Hikmah located in Kajang This is a home for single mothers and children, which is located at Lot 11552, Jalan 18, Taman Mesra, 43000, Kajang. There are 11 single mothers and 32 children. Some of the single mothers are working outside and need help to run the home. The children are aged from 3 weeks old to 20 years old and are mostly from broken homes, have been abandoned or whose parents can neither afford nor take care of them. They are all living in on a full time basis. The home is run by En. Hj. Othman. He started the home in 2005 on a very small scale. The home then took in more children and single mothers and he needs more funding for the upkeep of this home which presently is in a dilapidated state.

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia


“HUNT WITH A HEART”SI Bangsar SICB celebrated its 18th Anniversary on 23 Oct 2010. Instead of the usual dinner, it was decided that we do something that we had not done before. It was a challenge our intrepid members could not resist.

Thus on 31 Oct, we had the motorized Charity Treasure Hunt to commemorate our 18th Anniversary. The theme was “Hunt With A Heart”, with the net profit going to our 2011 project to assist disadvantaged women and girls in acquiring income-generating skills. Led by Helena Cheah as the Organizing Chairperson and her team, work started about 2 months before the actual event. Much effort was focused on sourcing for the professional Hunt Organiser to set the route and questions (tulips), corporate sponsors for the tons of gifts for the goody bags and the inevitable cash contribution for the top prizes to make the Hunt attractive. That was settled with help from one and all, from generous individuals to responsible corporate bodies and of course from dedicated members. Members worked hard in packing the goody bags with attractive sponsored items the day before the event. It was an achecausing process as the resultant sore backs and arms could testify to that. The worrying part was to get enough participating cars to justify our efforts and to justify to our generous sponsors. The last two weeks got Helena and me burning the phone line on many appeals to our own members,

various SI clubs and friends to bring in the cars. Our inserts in the newspapers helped in bringing the professional hunters. All in all, we got a whopping 40 cars and that took a load off our chest. The day dawned bright and sunny. The Hunt was scheduled to start at 9 am with a joint flag-off by SICB’s President and Etiqa senior manager. Our co branding partner, Etiqa Insurance & Takaful, was most helpful in arranging our start-off venue at Dataran Maybank, in preparing and printing the Hunt stickers, contributing cash, gifts and manpower to unload the heavy goody bags. They crowned it with a surprise hot breakfast for every participant and helper. The route, which normally takes 50 minutes to reach, took about 6 hours for all the questions to be answered. All the excitement of the Hunt culminated at the destination by 3 pm. And what an appropriate choice of destination – our very project – the welfare centre for 13 boys and 30 girls, the Nur Zaharah Home at Janda Baik.

In organizing this Treasure Hunt, not only did we raise funds for a project, but we also brought about spill-over effects. We made the public and corporate sponsors aware of SI and SICB, and one of SICB’s many projects, the Nur Zaharah Home. The Nur Zaharah Home too gained : -publicity for their organic vegetables, which are delivered weekly right at the customers’ doorstep, and -donations in cash and kind. How much did we raise from all the hard work? A worthwhile RM20,000 to move women and girls towards economic independence. And as important, we had FUN!

Annual English Literacy Competition-the JP Morgan Challenge Trophy - SI Damansara

>Mentari Centre with the JP Morgan Trophy

In July 2010, SI Club of Damansara held its 4th Annual English Literacy Competition amongst the 9 homes and learning centres for underprivileged children under the club’s Literacy Project. This event is a yearly highlight of the series of service activities undertaken by SID in our Literacy Project. The club has been running this competition since 2007 and since its inception more than 300 children have entered for the Reading and Writing competition. This year alone 70 children took part. The project was taken to a new level since last year when we introduced a Challenge Trophy and a Cash Award for the best home. The “JP Morgan Challenge Trophy “ is named after JP Morgan, our on going sponsor of the event. The award of a challenge trophy which can be kept by the winning home for a year adds to the prestige of the competition and helps ensure its continuity. The competition is carefully structured to maintain its credibility. A committee of SID club members selects interesting essay topics, poems and short stories to be used by all homes for the competition. The Committee also determines how the children are to be assessed. A panel of

judges comprising of educators from the club as well as external parties are identified and invited to be judges. Going forward, we hope to co-opt members of other clubs to be on the panel of judges.

motivated the children to increase their interest in English reading and writing. It has also increased their English language proficiency as a result of the practice they undertake for the competition. The event gives children from different homes a chance to interact in a vibrant environment and to support each other and for the club, it is an important tool to assess the effectiveness of our ongoing English Literacy project.

>Joint English Camp (SID & SI Penang) at Shans Home

Underprivileged children from these homes and centres are hardly selected for such competitions in the regular schools they attend. The SID competition gives them an opportunity to participate and win. This has boosted their self confidence tremendously. Competing against other homes has


Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia


OK tak OK - SI Ipoh

On the 9th November 2010, SI Ipoh members were invited to organise a workshop at Tapah for teachers from over 75 schools to participate in the OK tak OK programme.

This is a Personal safety programme for children, which aims to teach young pupils from primary schools how to deal with unacceptable behaviour of adults. The programme is designed to train teachers on how to recognise the signs if any of their pupils have been subjected to sexual abuse and how to help the children overcome this trauma. Trained counsellors designed this programme with a series of videos and scenarios, songs and questions tailored for school children. Teachers are asked to use these tools to help educate their pupils. The day started off with much enthusiasm from SI Ipoh members, the trainers and the teachers. They all participated in the activities and role plays and everyone had a lot of fun while remembering the seriousness of the workshop. Excellent food was provided by the local caterers and from the feedback forms, it was a great success. SI Ipoh hopes that the teachers will take this valuable knowledge and use them at their respective schools.

New members and new exco - SI Johor Bahru 10 years without Tripping or Flipping ... SIJB’s succession moves forward! A new President 2011, a new EXCO and many new members ... all in one night.

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia


“There is Hope”SI Kuala Lumpur

Excel Vision Education (EVE Colors) People to People International Student Chapter’s “There is Hope” Education project for underprivileged students.

Education is not only a fundamental human right, but also a powerful tool to positively transform people and bring them together. Underprivileged students deserve education beyond the basic education. University and middle level college education is vital as it holds the key to their future. It helps build human resources who one day will use their skills and knowledge to contribute towards nation building and world peace. The Save Education Centre (SEC) was initiated in 2008 by Miss Malaysia World (2007), Deborah Henry (SIKL Chapter member), in Kuala Lumpur. Weekly tuition is offered to a small group of Somali refugee children. In 2010, the Soroptomist International Kuala Lumpur (SIKL) chapter took on the Education enhancement programme for SEC. Mary Bepono (SIKL Chapter member) and advisor of EVE (COLORS) PTPI student chapter; felt that it would be ideal to implement the peer group teaching between the two different groups of students that would benefit both parties. ‘There is Hope EVE COLORS PTPI’ Education project began with a group of twenty Somali Refugee children from SEC attending a two hour peer teaching academic

and recreational session hosted by EVE COLORS PTPI student chapter members in collaboration with SIKL on a monthly basis; i.e. August, September, October and November 2010. The programme usually centers on peer teaching sessions for Math, English and Science using the K12 curriculum used by the students of Excel Vision Education. The programme ends with interaction between the students with games such as Futsal, badminton, table-tennis etc. and refreshments. The final programme of the year for the TIH project was the EVE 2nd Anniversary Night held at Bukit Kiara Equestrian Country Club. EVE (COLORS) PTPI student chapter held a concert to promote the project. The event was carried on Bernama TV prime time news the following day. TIH is a time for students from different parts of the world and divides of society to interact and understand each other better. It is also important to note that through these sessions SEC student’s attitudes toward education began to emerge. All the SEC students expressed an appreciation for education as well as expressed the

desire to interact with their peers from outside their secluded world. SEC students with strong academic potentials will be identified for academic scholarships. This was an excellent and practical lesson in building world peace because both the EVE (COLORS) PTPI student chapter members and the SEC students discovered that many of them shared the same interests and shared the same hopes and dreams for their respective futures. EVE (COLORS) PTPI student chapter members enjoyed helping their underprivileged peers from a different part of the world to be successful and will then go on to help other people later in life. SIKL and EVE (COLORS) PTPI student chapter will continue this project with other groups of underprivileged students in future. It is hoped that through this programme the less fortunate will experience the best of humanity through the efforts of the EVE (COLORS) PTPI student chapter. The desire is to build world peace in our corner of the world. “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke

“Good Seconds” Sale - SI Penang

On July 25th 2010, SI Penang organized a fundraising “GOOD SECONDS” sale. Friends were asked to donate whatever they could not use or did not need. The response was great! We collected tons; from clothing to household articles, including lots of designer items. However, we were not prepared for the shock when we saw the room filled with all sorts of things, jumbled together. We wondered how were we going to go through the hundreds of items?! But, as very determined Soroptimists, we tied up our hair, pulled up our pants, sat on the floor and dived in! Methodically, we sieved through each item by item and separated them into various categories. This tedious task took forever! Pricing of the items brought us so much laughter, as we discussed the tag price for each item. In so doing, items had to be retagged many times. Imagine our relief when all the items were finally priced/tagged, packed and ready to be transported to the hotel. There, we worked from morning to late night, getting everything set up for the next day.

On Sale day, we were there at 9.00 a.m., opened at 10.00 a.m. and closed at 7.00 p.m. It was a good day. We received very positive comments from those who came. They were amazed at the variety of good stuff that was offered at reasonable prices. Some even asked if we were going to have another. Items unsold were packed up and given to another charity organization in Penang, who in turn, used the items to raise funds for themselves, or were given away to the needy.

SIP members were pleasantly surprised as we raised over RM11,000 from the sale. Club members decided that we would split the proceeds from the sale, equally between SIP’s “office” fund and our community service projects. All of the above would not have come to fruit, if not for the generosity, great support and sponsorship from the Management and staff of Paradise Sandy Bay Beach Resort. They provided us with the wonderful venue free of charge, arranged tables and organised changing rooms.

The success of “Good Seconds” was due to dedicated team effort, the kind generosity of SIP sister Karen who willingly provided space to store the items, and our other SIP sister, Lay Ean who provided the lorry and her workers to transport the items to the Hotel. SIP is also grateful to all our friends and our members, who sacrificed their time with their respective families that Sunday, to help with various duties at the Sale.

For all of us who were part of this project, “Good Seconds” gave us more in return than the “blood, sweat and tears” we contributed towards it. Errrrrr…just kidding here, because there was really no blood or tears, just a lot of “sweat”, dust and backache! Seriously though, those of us who worked together on this project are thankful for the closer bond of sisterhood and friendship we developed from being cooped up in that room, for all those long hours, talking, laughing and even “snapping” (because we were tired), whilst we sorted the mountains of items. It was a truly fun and a good learning experience. Hopefully SIP will do it again. Rest assured, the next time around it will be even more fun because we now know how to do it as sisters, working together, for SIP!

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia


Medical Camp at SMJK Tamil Sungai Ara SI Penang

FREE MEDICAL CAMP The annual free medical camp was organized by SI Penang, Derma Sivasanta Clinic, PIBG parent teacher association from Tamil School Sungai Ara district, and a women’s wing of Malaysian Indian Chambers. The Free medical camp was held in The Tamil School Sungai Ara, on 5th September 2010, between 9.30am -12.30 pm. Banners and Flyers in the four different languages were sent out to the Chinese school, Tamil school, market places and Temple grounds two weeks before. 112 people mostly women were screened on that day. The volunteers who helped were members from the organizations and International School Students. The services provided were ultrasound breast checks and Pap smears done by a Gynaecologist. Blood glucose level checks, BMI assessments, Blood pressure checks, consultations with seven doctors, including specialists and two traditional Masseurs, were carried out throughout the morning.

Youth Against Social Ills SI Petaling Jaya SIPJ held two “Youth Against Social Ills” workshops in the last quarter. These workshops have been held annually since 2006 with the objective of ensuring equal access to education and training for women and girls and ending all forms of violence against women and girls.

SIPJ chose to organise youth outreach programs because we believe in getting to the root of all causes. The main causes of violence at home and against women and children are social ills such as gambling, alcohol and substance abuse. As we believe that education is the key, we have emphasised on educating youths on ‘how to say NO to social ills’ and identifying and tutoring young mentors to volunteer to be facilitators in the future workshops. On October 19th, 2010, SIPJ organised a half-day workshop for 106 fifteen-year-old girls who were students from Taman Sea and Sri Permata schools. Conducted by the professional team, Perfect Protection Sdn Bhd, the girls learned survival skills, personal Safety, self-value and family values. They were also given awareness of different forms of violence against women and girls, as well as the dangers from social networks and on-line dating. SIPJ organised another workshop on 26th October, 2010, for 99 fifteen-year-old girls and boys also from Taman Sea and Sri Permata schools. This workshop was conducted by the Child Helpline and GenGemilang on Cyber Security. Child Helpline, which had

recently been established in Malaysia, explained what Child Helpline was all about and highlighted the important contact numbers to report abuse. On the other hand, GenGemilang explained about cyber security, focusing on the dangers of gaming & social network addiction. The teenagers learned the danger of exposing too much important personal details over the Internet and how to improve communication within family circles, peers and learn personal skills via real contact and not only through cyberspace. There was much positive feedback from the participants after these two workshops so SIPJ will look into repeating them in the future.

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia


‘Celebrating Success’ SI Shah Alam A high tea, with the theme of ‘Celebrating Success’ was held on October 23, 2010 at Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur.

This event was a joint initiative with Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, which sponsored a high tea for 20 students of SMK Bandar Sunway to reward them for their excellent performance in SI Shah Alam’s sponsored PMR Revision Programme in Maths and Science in 2009. SI Shah Alam rewarded the students with cash vouchers and two revision books in English and Maths.

Club receives generous amount from MB - SI Seremban

AN ANNOUNCEMENT of a generous contribution by Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar’s wife Raja Datin Seri Salbiah Tengku Nujumuddin was the icing on the cake for Soroptimist International (SI) Seremban, which celebrated its fourth anniversary here recently.

Raja Salbiah who attended the event on behalf of Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said she was asked to convey the good news to club members as her husband was attending another event in Johor Baru. “My husband (Mohamad) sends his apologies for not being able to attend this event but he did tell me to cancel my appointments to represent him tonight because he fully supports the work that NGOs like SI do for the community,” she said during the speech. SI was founded in Oakland, California in 1921 and now has more than 3,000 clubs worldwide. Soroptimist refers to ‘best for women’ coined from the Latin ‘soror’ for sister and ‘optima’ which means best. The organisation, whose members comprise professional women, are committed to transforming the lives of women and girls in their own communities and around the globe through a variety of projects aimed at giving women better opportunities. Raja Salbiah commended the organisation for championing womens’ causes and giving less fortunate women across the globe a voice and a chance to educate and empower themselves to realise their full potential.

“Being a woman and with daughters of my own, I sincerely thank you for your passion in improving the lives of women because change in attitudes towards women and the treatment of women in general would benefit us all. “There was a time when a woman’s place was only in the kitchen, but today, we can have it all - family, career and more importantly the right to be heard, thanks in part to people like you who continue to champion our rights and pave the way for a better future for the younger generation of women,” she said. Soroptimists, as SI club members are known, work on a variety of issues to ensure that women and girls enjoy equality, live in safe and healthy environments, have access to education and have leadership and practical skills to fulfil their potential. Raja Salbiah, who is also the head of Pekerti (Association of wives of wakil rakyat and senior state government officials) and the National Council of Women’s Organisations(NCWO)’s local chapter said she looked forward to working with SI Seremban for the benefit of women in the community. More than 400 guests including members of SI clubs around the country attended the dinner at the Seremban Municipal Council hall.

Also present was SI South West Pacific (SISWP) region president-elect Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam, who briefed guests on the history and objectives of SI. Gnanalingam said she had a sentimental fondness for the Seremban club as it was chartered during her tenure as SI Malaysia president. SI Seremban president Datin Kuldip Kaur said the club’s projects to date include the setting up of the Women’s Support Centre, an HIV/AIDS awareness workshop for secondary school students, a seminar on city survival skills for women and motivational talks. “As we celebrate our fourth birthday today, we want to highlight some of the community projects we have worked on over the past few years. “Our projects are diverse in nature but focused on current issues including HIV/ AIDS awareness, city survival skills to teach women how to avoid dangerous situations and motivational seminars on topics from ageing gracefully to grooming,” she said. Club members later sold recyclable shopping bags to guests with the ‘Say No to Violence Against Women’ message emblazoned on it to raise funds for their campaign.

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia

SIROM Friendship Night


SIROM held a Friendship Dinner on 3 October, 2010, which was organised by SIROM President Datin Indira Naidu, Hon. Secretary Kim Fong and Treasurer Helena Cheah.

We were glad to have a special guest, Dr Raiza Malhotra from SI Caracas, Venezuela, join us at this event to share this auspicious day of fun and delicious food. She even sang a Spanish song for us!

SWP President-Elect Puan Sri Siew Yong Gnanalingam kindly allowed her residence to be the venue for the event and we had over 40 ladies who attended. SI Shah Alam had the highest number of members and guests at 12, with SI KL having 7. The other clubs in the Klang Valley who were present included SI Bangsar, SI Seremban, SI Petaling Jaya, SI Sentul and SI Damansara. Unfortunately due to distance, other SIROM clubs based further away were not able attend. Nevertheless, those who did had a marvellous evening of sisterhood.

We had continuous entertainment of songs and music by the SIKL team, a comedy skit by SI Seremban and dancing by members and friends. This event was a lovely opportunity for bonding, sharing and networking. At the end of the evening, yellow roses, courtesy of SIROM, were distributed to all as a gift of sisterhood.

SI in the media

Newsletter of Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia


List of Presidents SI Ampang - Nadia Abdullah SI Bangsar - Rohayah Ahmad SI Damansara - Saradha Narayanan SI Ipoh - Khoo Kuan Hwa SI Johor Bahru - Margaret Liew SI Kuala Lumpur – Shanti Abishegam SI Kuantan - Tay Keng Chee SI Miri - Leticia Laiman Ingan SI Penang - Anita Skelchy Pater SI Petaling Jaya - Premilla Mohanlall SI Sentul - Amuthambigai Tharmarajah SI Seremban - Nicole Tan Lee Koon SI Shah Alam - Norma Noor

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