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A global volunteer organization working to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment.
NEWS RELEASE: Soroptimist helps women in Japan
International organization grants $60,000 to help Japan women devastated by massive earthquake and tsunami
September 28, 2011
Philadelphia, PA—On March 11, a massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake hit the eastern side of Japan. This earthquake and the tsunami that followed killed hundreds of people and destroyed thousands of lives. A second earthquake that hit April 7 at a magnitude of 7.4 further destroyed the region, leveling many of the buildings that survived the first life-shattering quake. The people of Japan continue to pick up the pieces and deal with the havoc these disasters wreaked.
Soroptimist International of the Americas, an international volunteer organization of business and professional women dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls, recently presented three Soroptimist Disaster Grants for Women and Girls totaling nearly $60,000 to three Soroptimist groups in Japan to provide recovery and support to women and girls who suffer disproportionately during times of disaster. Single Soroptimist Disaster Grants range from $1,000 to $20,000 and assist women who have been victims of natural disasters or acts of war.
Soroptimist has about 12,430 members and 520 clubs in Japan. The Soroptimist clubs in Japan are using these grants to help local women and girls:
Soroptimist International of Fukushima
Soroptimist International of Sendai
Soroptimist International of Higashi Region
“These clubs in Japan are really doing their part to help women and girls after one of the worst disasters in recent years,” said Soroptimist President Pat Donohue. “Women and girls are particularly vulnerable during disasters. They lack mobility and access to resources, have increased family responsibilities, and are susceptible to physical danger. Soroptimist's disaster grants mitigate the barriers facing women and girls during disasters, making it easier for them to get the resources they need to survive.”
Soroptimist has long been concerned about the disproportionate effects of disasters on women and girls. In addition to providing Disaster Grants, Soroptimist funded a research study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), titled “Women in the Wake of the Storm: Examining the Post-Katrina Realities of the Women of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast,” available at: <http://www.soroptimist.org/whatwedo/programs.html#DisasterReliefFund>. The study found that women faced and continue to confront special challenges to their health, safety, and economic wellbeing in the lingering aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; that they were at an increased risk of exposure to sexual assault and domestic violence; and that women encounter greater economic hurdles when rebuilding their lives after disaster strikes.
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa., Soroptimist is a cause-related philanthropic federation of clubs improving the lives of women and girls through social and economic empowerment. With 37,000 members in 19 countries and territories, its major program, the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Awards, provides cash grants for women seeking to improve their lives with the help of additional education and training. The organization also sponsors the Live Your Dream Campaign in recognition of the power of women and their dreams. Visit the Campaign’s online home at LiveYourDreamCampaign.org.