Our regular activities continued. These included financing scholarships for students at the local music school and sponsoring the Bielsko-Biała affiliate of the Anna Dymna Poetry Salon. Between 25 November and 10 December club members actively participated in the Orange the World/Stop Violence Against Women campaign.
The predominant club activity in 2022 centred around aiding refugees from Ukraine.
We helped by collecting food and sanitary supplies for people residing in our area. We sent a consignment of sanitary products to Ukraine. We ran, and continue to run, Polish language courses for Ukrainian women residing in Bielsko-Biała and surrounding areas. We arranged psychological support for women and children from Ukraine, an activity which is also ongoing. We organised a four-day stay in a mountain lodge for a group of Ukrainian children and their mothers. We funded a scholarship to cover tuition fees at a sports academy for a girl from Ukraine. Our traditional music school concert, sponsored by the club, included performances by youngsters from Ukraine.
2021 was the second year that passed under the threat of the COVID-19 virus. As a result our club activity in the first half of the year was limited to online meetings and a continuation of our regular activities - financing scholarships for students at the local music school and sponsoring the Bielsko-Biała affiliate of the Anna Dymna Poetry Salon, as above.
Owing to the availability of vaccinations in the second half of the year, it became possible to function more in our usual manner:
On 18 December, we participated in the 9th Picnic of Non-Governmental Organisations in Gemini Park shopping centre in Bielsko-Biała.
Six-month-long Polish language courses, organised by us for women from Ukraine and Belarus working in Bielsko-Biała and the surrounding areas, commenced in November. Fifty ladies signed up for the courses.
Between 25 November and 10 December club members actively participated in the Orange the World/ Stop Violence Against Women campaign. This included distribution of information leaflets, a club member being interviewed by Radio Bielsko, a comprehensive article featured in the Local Government Magazine of 3 December 2021, and banners and posters being displayed in our city.
On 2 September a ceremonial club meeting was held in Kapias Gardens on the occasion of the club's 30th anniversary.
25th November - 10th December 2020, as in the previous year, the Soroptimist International Club in Bielsko-Biała actively participated in the campaign "Orange the World – against violence towards women" by placing banners around the town with the slogan “Together against violence towards women". Wishing to act, in a small but practical way, we decided to provide financial assistance for two young women who had found themselves in very difficult circumstances. Earlier in the year, on 7th March, Dr Magdalena Wysoglad delivered a lecture entitled "Economic violence. Violence in the family".
Despite the pandemic, which significantly reduced our possibilities to act, we continued our “The young are our future” project by
funding scholarships for two girls at the local music school
participating online in the nativity play of the Special School with whom we have close ties
As in previous years, we sponsored the Poetry Salon, which, owing to the restrictions imposed on us by the pandemic, took place online.
2020 was a sad year for us, not simply because of the pandemic, but because three of our sisters passed away: Halina Drabczyńska in June, Dorota Moskal-Choma in July and Anna Serdyńska-Łamik in November.
25th November - 10th December 2019, the Soroptimist International Club in Bielsko-Biała actively participated in the campaign "Orange the World – against violence towards women" by placing posters in the Historical Museum, BWA Art Gallery and the Municipal Theatre, as well as distributing leaflets with addresses where one might seek help on this issue and by informing the media about the event. Our town hall, illuminated in orange emphasised the importance of the campaign.
14th September We combined our traditional autumn picnic and European Heritage Days 2019 into one event at the open-air museum in Pszczyna on Saturday September 14th, a bright sunny day. We listened to a talk by local historian and keen ethnographer Tomasz Wrona from Mysłowice on the subject of women’s Silesian costume from the 19th and 20th centuries.
We continued our “The young are our future” project by:
funding scholarships for girls at the local music school
organising a Christmas Concert on December 15th in the concert hall of the Bielsko-Biała Music School. Our club’s scholarship-sponsored students and students of Stanisław Moniuszko State Music School in Bielsko-Biała performed for the audience
attending a picnic and participating in the nativity play of the Special School with whom we have close ties.
On 24 November, the eve of the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women, members of the Bielsko-Biala SI Club gave out leaflets and tangerines in Sarni Stok , one of Bielsko-Biala’s large shopping centres. We thus took part in the worldwide campaign to eliminate violence against women.
On 13 October Katarzyna Brykowicz, a member of our club, became the president of the Polish Union of Soroptimist International.
Also on 13 October we took an active part in a conference under the banner of “Democracy is a Woman” organised by the First Warsaw Club. The conference celebrated the hundredth anniversary of Polish women’s right vote.
As part of “The Small Academy of Personal Development”
· we organised a talk on healthy eating, a meeting with a physiotherapist and a talk by our member, Dr Maria Skrobol, on women’s health
· we visited the Julian Falat Museum, known as Falatowka, in Bystra, where we heard a talk on the artist’s social and artistic activities
· we organised a performance by the actor Magdalena Bochan-Jachimek of her play “We have a problem. A one-woman show”
As part of our long-standing project “The Young People Our Chance”
· we gave grants to five girls studying at the Stanislaw Moniuszko Music School in Bielsko-Biala
· on 16 December we organised a Christmas concert in the above school when the girls who receive our grant and other pupils of the music school performed
· this year saw the culmination of a six-month long training course for around one hundred girls from secondary schools who were trained to work with partially sighted children and children with mental and physical disabilities; the project was a joint undertaking by the Bielsko-Biala SI Club and the Centre for Education, Treatment and Rehabilitation for the Young, the Rudoltowice Home of the Polish Society for the Blind; detailed information can be found in the link “Projects”
· in November, to commemorate one hundred years of Polish independence, we organised an art competition entitled “Draw or Paint Independent Poland” for pupils of Bielsko-Biala special schools
The project Young People are Our Chance has been in progress and we focused on the following issues:
- providing financial support for four schoolgirls of the Music School and for one girl student from the Art School;
- supporting the Creative Street initiative helping children and young people in their after school activities;
- co-operating with Klamra Foundation in Żywiec.
For all our sympathizers every year Christmas concert of our grant holders took place in a Concert Hall of the Music School in Bielsko-Biala.
During the traditional autumn picnic in Hucisko we visited Tadeusz Kantor’s house and 19th-century manor house of our club’s sister.
In the framework of SI Polish Union’s project Be Visible, Be Safe, Wear Reflecting Badges we organized several meetings and workshops in the primary schools to emphasise on a safe way to/back from school. The children received the pvc hangers with Soroptimist logo glowing in dark – a thing to be attached to a handbag, knapsach and buttonhole.
Prepared by K.Brykowicz and J.Ujejska
Young People are Our Chance project is in progress. This is to help disadvantaged children and specially talented young people to realize and to develop their dreams. It means as follows:
- to endow the scholarships for four schoolgirls of Music School and to organize their concert,
- a financial support for a girl student of Art School,
- to provide support for No.17 Primary School in B-B for the children of different degree of intellectual disability,
- to support K.I. Gałczyński Special School in B-B.
- a cooperation with Klamra Foundation in Żywiec.
Soroptimists’ meetings with culture:
- co-funding of Krakow’s Poetry Salon in B-B,
- clubs’ library Books Worthy to be Read.
The project „Young People are Our Chance” has been in progress
In November (22-23) the assembly of Polish soroptimists took place in Warsow (eight sisters from our club were there). The representants of SIE Federation - Tonny Fieldt Kok-Weimar (1st v-president), Carolien Demey (the governor from Belgian Union) and Gerda Rosiers (past president of Belgian Union) participated in the meeting. The most important problems of soroptimists were discussed (e.g. the elimination of violence against women and girls, the prevention strategies, the legal aspects of our activity,etc.).
From 17-19 October the SI clubs from Gdansk, Berlin-Mitte and Potsdam organized the meeting in Krzyzowa (not far from Wroclaw) with a purpose to enhance the friendship between soroptimists from East and West. The sisters form Vilnius (Lithuania) SI club and the represents of our club took part in the meeting.
The project „We Know Our Mums” has been in progress.
Within the „Young People are Our Chance” project this year we will support three students of the Music School
On 9th March our club has signed a Friendship Link Letter with SI Uelzen Club in Germany.
In March we organized a talk of Polish missionary in Guatemala on her work in the orphanage and we donated money to sustain its activity.
The web site of the club in English has started.
The „We Know Our Mums” project involved us totally this year. There were between ten and twenty meetings with a psychologist and a make-up artist, pottery and other craft classes, yoga and „nordic walking”exercises and basic English lessons took place. We also organized for the Mums two trips to Beskidy mountains – in winter and in summer.
In the framework of the „Young People are Our Chance” project we realized as follows:
- this year one of our beneficiaries - a cello player – has successfully completed her studies and began working as a professional musician. That is why our latest scholarship was awarded to a young harpist and two girls every month still benefited of the fund (the trombonist and the harpist);
- we participated in the purchase of the conviction-type furnice for the cooking workshop and the equipment for decorators’ workroom in the K.I. Galczynski Special School;
- we donated funds to volunteer ophthalmologist from Great Britain to support eye-related healthcare to the patients living in extreme poverty in Ghana;
- we participated in a nativity play presented by the Special School No.17;
- every year Christmas concert of our grant holders took place in the Concert Hall of Music School.
The Drahma foundation and the hospice for cancer patients PRO SALUTE received our support as well.
Two our representants took part in the 20th SIE Congress in Berlin (July).
We launched a new project entitled „We Know Our Mums” and we were specially proud of it. It started with Centre for Education and Rehabilitation of Blind and Partly Sighted Children in Rudoltowice near Pszczyna. We wanted to help mothers of disabled children. Very often the mothers bringing up handicapped children are removed from the social life. It was our goal to build awareness of their own needs and to discover or to bring out their individual interests. The activities (e.g. meetings with a psychologist and a make-up artist, pottery and découpage classes, yoga and „nordic walking”exercises, journalism and basic English lessons, etc.) took place every other week, while the children with severe disabilities were being care of (see also: Rudoltowice project).
In the framework of the „Young People are Our Chance” project we could manage to realize the following:
- granting the scholarships to the cellist and the trombonist – schoolgirls of Music School;
- co-funding the purchase of the harp and the oboe for the schoolgirls;
- participated in a nativity play presented by the Special School No.17;
- organized an every year Christmas concert of our grant holders in the Sulkowski castle.
In November we also organized a charity concert of popular music with a guest appearance of the singing actress Anna Dereszowska and „Machina del Tango” band. This turned out to be a great artistic succsess and added to our charity budget.
The 20th anniversary celebrations of the club took place.
Within the „Young People are Our Chance” project we granted the scholarships for the cello player and the trombinist. We also organized them a Christmas concert at Sulkowski castle.
We continued the „Young People are Our Chance” project and among others starting from 2009 we granted two monthly scholarships for the schoolgirls - the cellist and the trombonist (we also participated in the purchase of the trombone for the latter). Due to going the cello player for the workshops to the USA we organized English conversations for her and co-funded an air ticket and we bought a special cello cover as well (2007). Every year concert of the grant holders took place at Sulkowski castle.
We set about the „Adoption of Heart” action and we donated money and bought a sewing machine for the schoolgirl from Cameroon to help her apprenticeship. It lasted three years.
We supported the orphanage in Guatemala and gave money to Polish missionary working there.
After the catastrophe of the Fair Hall in Katowice (2006) we offered financial support to the injured.
During one of our monthly meetings the deputy to the EU Parliament coming from B-B, Grazyna Staniszewska, delivered a speech on the role of women in the politics.
In 2005 we hosted soroptimist sisters from Norway, France and Scotland clubs. The visit of Scottish and French sisters resulted in signing the friendship link letters with SI Dunfermline Club and with the SI Riom-Chatel-Guyon-Volvic Club.
A Krakow’s Poetry Salon started in B-B co-funded by the club.
It was our great pleasure to set up the web site of the club in 2009.
We launched a new project: „Young People are Our Chance” – to help specially talented disadvantaged children to develop their dreams and plans. We were specially interested in this kind of help that is why we decided to grant scholarships for musical talented schoolgirls from Music School in B-B. We were also concerned in:
- supporting disabled pupils from K.I. Galczynski Special School and Primary Special No.17;
- granting a scholarship for the Ukrainian girl from the Administration and Management College in Przemysl (in 2004 she successfully completed her studies);
- granting social and pedagogical care to the schoolgirl from one of the secondary schools in B-B.
Between 2000-2002 every month we provided financial help to a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Our representants participated in 55th anniversary of SI Horsens Club in Denmark and in 50th anniversary of SI Moss Club in Norway.
For the first time we organized an integration picnic (annually repeated) for our families and friends.
The most important event we organized in May 1998 was an internationl conference on „Economic and Cultural Conditions of Women’s Public Involvement in the EU Countries and in Eastern Europe”. The participants (51 people) came from different European countries, as well as from Polish SI clubs. This conference was provided with financial support of the EU Phare Programme and was highly assessed by this pre-accession financial instrument.
The sisters of the club participated in 40th anniversary celebrations of Austrian Union and 60th anniversary of Metz Club in France (1997). We also were hosted by the sisters from Apeldoorn Club in The Netherlands on its 40th anniversary (1996). The last one was not only a „lesson” given by experienced sisters but also they provided us with the donation for the rehabilitation pool in the centre for disabled children „Nadzieja” (Hope).
The main task until 1999 remaind the construction of the centre for handicapped children „Nadzieja” (Hope).
On our initiative a meeting of the representants of all Polish SI clubs was organized in September 1994 and it turned out to be the founding convention of Polish Union which was officially approved by the European Federation in 1995. The first President of Polish Union was Danuta Piontek.
Monthly club’s magazine started in 1994.
The first charity ball we organized in 1992. It helped us to support the construction of the centre for handicapped children „Nadzieja” (Hope). Continuing from then, we managed to
organize fantastic thematic charity balls (e.g. film, opera or Spanish, etc.) which became the financial base of charity actions of the club.
We established partnership links with SI Eisenstadt Club in Austria and with SI Club Kaunas (Lithuania) in 1994.
In June 1991 the charter ceremony of the club took place