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Working with Soroptimist International

Find out more about Humanity & Inclusion's partnership with Soroptimist International clubs in the UK, and how your club can get involved.

Soroptimists in Chelmsford built a Pyramid of Shoes to raise awaress about the victims of conflict.

Soroptimists in Chelmsford built a Pyramid of Shoes to raise awaress about the victims of conflict. | © Tom Shelton/HI

Soroptimist International is a global movement of women working together to transform the lives of women and girls. Humanity & Inclusion (HI) has been partnering with Soroptimists in the UK since 2004 - an amazing 14 years of friendship and campaigning!

We are fortunate to receive support from many different clubs and groups, but our partnership with Soroptimists is particularly special to us.

Working alongside Soroptimists is an important part of HI’s action in the UK, and we are very proud to campaign, raise awareness and raise funds together to support the forgotten victims of conflict, particularly child victims of indiscriminate weapons such as landmines and cluster bombs.

Over the years, we have received amazing support from more than 80 local Soroptimist clubs as well as the UK Programme Action Committee. As a result, more than 250 events have been organised by Soroptimists around the UK and tens of thousands of petition signatures collected.

We are very grateful for this longstanding support which has resulted in fantastic progess towards ending the scourge of explosive weapons.

About our partnership

Soroptimists and HI staff hand in our No More VIctims petition to 10 Downing Street in 2015
Soroptimists and HI staff hand in our No More Victims petition to 10 Downing Street in 2015. © HI

The Ban Cluster Bombs campaign

Both HI and the Soroptimists have a proud history of campaigning against indiscriminate weapons like landmines, but it was in support of the Ban Cluster Bombs campaign that we first joined forces.

Between 2004 and 2008, Soroptimists collected over 30,000 petition signatures in towns and cities across the UK. These signatures were presented to the UK Government, helping to ensure that the UK was among the first States to join the 2008 Oslo Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the use, transfer, and stockpiling of these vicous weapons.

Pyramids of Shoes

Through unique events known as ‘Pyramids of Shoes’, HI and Soroptimists have raised a huge amount of awareness of the scourge of explosive weapons like landmines and cluster bombs, and collected many petition signatures in the process.

Large numbers of shoes are piled up in a public space, to create an impressive pyramid, often several metres high. Each pair of shoes on the pyramid symbolises a person that has lost a life or limb to these indiscriminate weapons.

Read about a recent Pyramid of Shoes organised in Chelmsford.

Forgotten 10 Challenge

Launched in 2009, the Forgotten 10 Challenge is ten days of action for the forgotten victims of conflict. It takes place between the 1st and 10th December each year and Soroptimists play a leading role.

The 3rd December is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities as well as the anniversary of the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munitions first being signed.

As well as raising awareness and funds for HI’s demining, rehabilitation and risk education work, the Forgotten 10 Challenge has seen Soroptimists campaigning to protect civilians affected by conflict. Calling on the UK to fund more mine risk education work in Syria and urging banks to stop investing in companies funding cluster bombs have been just some of the issues we have campaigned together on.

STOP Bombing Civilians

Most recently, Soroptimists have collected thousands of signatures as part of the Stop Bombing Civilians campaign, which calls on all States to commit to ending the use of explosive weapons with wide-area affects in populated areas.


How your Soroptimist club can get involved

There is a wide range of activities that Soroptimist clubs can get involved with throughout the year, including the Forgotten 10 Challenge, Every Step Counts walks, the Stop Bombing Civilians campaign and Quiz Nights. It would be an honour to work with your club this year.

To get involved please order your Forgotten 10 Challenge Action Pack.

If you have any questions about our work with Soroptimists Clubs please contact our Supporter Engagement Officer, John, by emailing j.mcgeachy[at]hi.org or calling 0870 774 3737.

Read more

Heather Knott: Saying it with shoes
© John McGeachy/HI

Heather Knott: Saying it with shoes

In 2004, a group of Soroptimists drove down from Chelmsford to London with a van full of shoes, which they would use to build a huge pyramid in Trafalgar Square. HI's Pyramid of Shoes was built to raise awareness about the victims of landmines and cluster bombs. Heather Knott was one of the Soroptimists taking part that day and ten years on she decided it was time to organise another Pyramid.

Forgotten 10 Challenge
© Elisa Fourt/HI

Forgotten 10 Challenge

Take action from 1st to 10th December to support the forgotten victims of conflict. Order your Action Pack today.

Kanha, 17, Cambodia: I think I was very lucky
© Eric Martin/Figaro/HI

Kanha, 17, Cambodia: I think I was very lucky

In 2005, seven-year-old Kanha was playing in her family's courtyard when her father came home from his fields. He brought home a rusty metal object - scrap metal he planned to sell.