Soroptimist International is an international non-governmental organisation working for women. Soroptimists work closely with the United Nations and the Council of Europe, where they are represented. The organisation has over 72,000 members worldwide in 132 countries. There are 32,000 Soroptimists in Europe including 230 in Poland. Our Association is the global voice of women and girls, and an advocate of their rights to education and healthcare.
Soroptimist International is an apolitical and non-religious organisation. The women, working in a voluntary capacity and involved with various activities, come from many countries of the world and we endeavour to understand and respect different viewpoints.
After Friday's ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal, which broke the fragile abortion compromise and thus tightened the abortion law, we must, however, speak out on a fundamental issue for Polish women - our sisters, friends and daughters.
Abortion is a matter for women, not politics or religion. We believe that the difficult choice of giving birth to a child with an incurable defect should be left to the conscience of the woman who has to make this choice.
We are women who, for many years, have been involved in helping other women in a voluntary capacity. We mostly help women who are in the worst economic situation. It is these women who will be the victims of the ruling of the Constitutional Tribunal, and it is these women who will be the hardest hit by this political decision.
We are bitterly aware that the ruling authorities in Poland, and a large part of society, are indifferent to the fate of people with disabilities, and that of their mothers and entire families. By its ruling the Constitutional Tribunal does not leave women a choice - it has forced them to give birth to incurably damaged foetuses. It is inhuman to force a woman to make such a ‘heroic’ gesture. They will not receive any support with a disabled child, they will be left to fend for themselves, without social or psychological help, without the right to mourn. The hardships of being forced to live in this way will fall on the women, their families and non-governmental organisations, such as ours.
Let the women in Poland have the right to express themselves and the right to choose, and let this voice be heard and the choice be made possible.
The Board and Members of the Union of Polish Clubs, Soroptimist International
Karina Mostowik – President of the Union of Polish Clubs,
Katarzyna Piszczako-Pałasz – First Vice President of the Union of Polish Clubs,
Magdalena Szkarłat-Meszczyńska – Second Vice President of the Union of Polish Clubs,
Katarzyna Brykowicz – Secretary of the Union of Polish Clubs,
Krystyna Domagała – Treasurer of the Union of Polish Clubs,
Joanna Waszkiewicz – Programme Director of the Union of Polish Clubs,
We are going through a very difficult time because of this pandemic and it was impossible to hold our normal May meeting. Thanks to Bo Zdzitowiecki, who organized a Zoom meeting for us, we were able to get together virtually. And so, thanks to the internet, we saw each other and discussed club business. We felt as if we were together again.
It was a wonderful feeling.
Thank you Bo.
Farewell to Anna Serdyńska - Łamik
(died 4th November 2020)
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
... has left the world better than he found it”
Ania was certainly a person who fulfilled her tasks with passion and commitment not only as a wife, mother and grandmother, but also as a Soroptimist. She changed the world by the way she lived and by her deeds. She always knew where she came from and where she was going.
Ania started her Soroptimist activities at the Soroptimist International Club in Zabrze, and thanks to her involvement in the club's affairs, she became its president.
After moving to Wilkowice, she became a member of the Soroptimist International Club in Bielsko. Her 15-year activity in our club has left clear traces of her unique personality. She performed many different functions and was the President of the SI club in Bielsko in the years 2013-2015. She was very actively involved in all the projects of our club. Anna presented many interesting ideas which she enthusiastically put into practice. She had great ideas for organising the annual charity balls which appealed to many people and were very popular in our city. She became very involved in the project "We know what we have" (Wiemy co mamy), which concerned mothers of disabled children. Anna actively participated in it as a volunteer, organising classes which were aimed at integrating mothers of disabled children, showing that they can be a support for each other. She wanted to give them some joy and respite in their difficult lives.
Anna always focused on unfortunate, disadvantaged people. She always tried to help, and looked for ways and opportunities to support those in need, not only materially, but also showing ways in which those people’s lives could be changed.
Anna always looked for the best in people and gave them the best of herself.
Goodbye Anna. It is difficult to understand and accept the cruelties of fate.
We will always remember you
Dorota was a wonderful good person. She believed in everyone and always looked for the positives in everyone. She was well-liked in our club. She loved people. Her particular characteristic was her great affection for people and so she had many close friends and knew many people with whom she liked to spend time. Her warm smile and genuine warm words were a balm for any problem. She was a great listener and gave good advice. Despite problems in her own life she never forgot those in need. She cared about others and saw the good in people.
She had been a Soroptimist since 2012 and from the very beginning was an active member of the Bielsko club and the instigator of many wonderful projects. Thanks to her involvement our first project in 2013 “Wiemy co Mamy” (We know what we have) which helped mothers with disabled children who use the “Little Castle” in Rydołtowice which caters for such children, was a great success.
Between 2013 and 2015 Dorota was the club secretary and in 2017-2019 she was the vice-president. Despite her illness she actively took part in the club’s activities and in all events connected with fighting against violence towards women. Dorota was already very seriously ill when, in November 2019, she was with us in Sarni Stok shopping centre to give out leaflets with information where to seek help in case of abuse. She was particularly interested in the life of the Roma on the Kabaty estate in Żywiec where she went with Christmas presents for the children and where she gave private lessons to a Roma girl. She was enthusiastic about helping to organise our charity balls and took part in them herself always wearing a smile and a funny costume. Although Dorota was already weak and very ill while we were organising the last ball, she still recommended someone she knew who turned out to be a sensational Master of Ceremonies.
On 13 May Dorota took part in our club meeting online.
Her death has made our club all the poorer for it. It’s not true that no one is indispensable. We will miss Dorota as an active Soroptimist and as a particularly kind and sympathetic person who knew how to resolve conflict. She will also be missed as a good friend who listened patiently to others’ problems and who supported her friends with all her heart.
Dorota you were exceptional. We will never forget you.
I would like to share some sad news with you.
On 25 June, at the age of 76, after a long illness, we lost our friend and sister from our club, Halina Drabczyńska.
She was born in Cracow but chose to live in Bielsko-Biała.
Halina was one of the founder members of our club and, since its formation in 1991, she had been an active and involved member in a way particular to her – charming, kind, modest, but at the same time very active in the club.
She was a pharmacist by profession, but she had a poet’s soul.
We will miss her, especially as perhaps we did not always appreciate her fully.
She was a model Soroptimist.