Community

Westshore Women’s Business Network supports Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore (SIVW) who improve the lives of women and girls through their programs and initiatives.

We sell 50/50 tickets at meetings with the proceeds going directly to this charity. Other fundraising opportunities may also happen throughout the year.

We feel this partnership helps to bridge a gap, fill a need and give back to our communities  – and it makes us all feel good to help others.  “A healthy business is a philanthropic business”, Deb Alcadinho, Founder.

Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore (SIVW). www.sivw.ca 
Soroptimist is a global volunteer movement working together to transform the lives of women and girls  This club is a network of dynamic professional women ranging in age from mid-20’s to 80’s, who strive to educate, empower and enable opportunities supporting women.  The organization operates three main projects:

a) Anney’s Closet:  Over 100 women each year, referred by 36+ Victoria social service agencies, visit Anney’s Closet to make their new living space into a home. Items
donated from downsizing seniors and the community go into a “free store” with household goods to transform their apartments into functional and comfortable homes. Volunteers sort and display the products and assist women on personal shopping trips to The Closet.
Learn more at www.sivw.ca/ac

b) Live Your Dreams Education Awards: The Soroptimist Live Your Dream Awards assist women who provide the primary source of income to their families. Awards improve their education, skills and employment prospects. Some have overcome enormous obstacles including poverty, domestic violence and/or drug and alcohol abuse. In five years  more than $10,600* has been awarded in educational financial awards to 20 women and girls. (*as of April 2017). Learn more at www.sivw.ca/lyd

c) Imagining Possibilities Conference: Young women with access to mentors, information and skill development are far more likely to live their dreams. The Soroptimist “Dream It, Be It” program provides girls with the chance to meet successful women in all walks of life, and to learn the skills and tools to act on their dreams. At the “Imagining Possibilities” conference, with workshops and a trade-show, girls get fired up about opportunities. The door on careers has been opened to over 320 young women in 4 years. Learn more at www.sivw.ca/dibi/ip

Other SIVW projects: 

Christmas Hampers – each Christmas hampers of food, toys and gifts are created for young women. They’ve assisted families from the local food bank Christmas Hamper registry as well as young women who have been Anney`s Closet clients.

KIVA Loans – Kiva is a leader in online microlending, allowing lenders to loan as little as $25 USD in a safe and secure manner, to entrepreneurs listed on the site. SIVW started with 4 loans in May 2010 and since then have lent to 181 women and/or groups of women in 36 countries worldwide. Learn more: www.sivw.ca/projects/kiva

Sister Sanitary Pads, Masaka, Uganda:  An international Soroptimist club who needed funding to design and build a machine to manufacture sanitary pads using the fibre from the stalks of banana trees, was assisted by many clubs internationally, including the SIVW club. The machine was designed by a Victoria-born woman Design Engineer, who now lives in India. The small village is now in full production of “Sister Sanitary Pads” allowing women to actively participate in school and work.

Soroptimists Stop Trafficking:  This international project raises awareness about the sex trafficking of women and girls, and seeks to encourage citizens, law makers and service providers to focus on this global problem. Learn more at
www.soroptimist.org/our-programs/other-programs/program-stop-trafficking

Here are some other great organization supporting women in our region: 

Wear2Start – One of the greatest barriers to employment for economically disadvantaged women is appearance. Wear 2 Start was established to provide a practical solution by assisting unemployed, low-income women with the appropriate job interview attire.  We assist women by selecting suitable job interview items such as clothing, shoes, accessories. Each woman receives individual, personal attention to her needs. We also co-ordinate other necessary services such as haircuts, make up consultations, dry cleaning, alterations. Clients are referred to Wear 2 Start from educational, job training, re-training and job preparation programs. All services are at no cost to the client.  http://www.wear2start.com/

Victoria Women in Need (WIN) – At Victoria Women In Need Community Cooperative (WIN), we support women along their journey between crisis, financial self sufficiency and wellness. Our programs are there for women along each step of her journey.  We are there when she is in crisis and needs to access essential goods, we are there when she is setting up her own home after leaving a transition house, we are there when she is building a strong community of support. And finally, when she is ready, we are there to provide training, education and financial support to help her achieve her goals of financial self sufficiency and wellness.  www.womeninneed.ca

Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre – In 1982, a group of women recognized a need for ongoing support for survivors of sexualized violence and increased public awareness of the issue. In 1983, they incorporated as “The Victoria Women’s Sexual Assault Centre Society”. Today, WSAC has a volunteer board and staff that serves over 2,500 survivors of sexualized violence each year.  http://www.vwsac.com/

Victoria Women’s Transition House – The Society provides emergency shelter services and counselling to over 2000+ women each year and 150+ children accompany their mothers to the Shelter where they receive counselling and support and support as well. In addition to our shelter services, Transition House provides community counselling, individual and group, for abused women and their children.  http://www.transitionhouse.net/